Every February, the art world flocks to Mexico City for its annual art week, spearheaded by Zona Maco, the city’s predominant art fair. This year, the fair opens its 20th edition and it is larger than ever before, with 140 participating exhibitors, including leading international galleries, such as Pace. Across the city, three other art and design fairs opened with significant buzz: Material Art Fair, Salón ACME and Unique Design X Mexico City. In this month’s journal we will be taking a closer look at three of the main reasons the city has flourished into one of the key international art hubs in recent years.

The city’s rich history of arts and culture

Mexico City has its own rich history of art, design, food and architecture which have all played a role in its emergence as a leading art hub. Mexico City is known for its vibrant, dynamic architecture, where nature overlaps with man-made buildings. Architects like Luis Barragan and Javier Senosiain have achieved cult status among design lovers. When it comes to artists from Mexico, there’s been no shortage of incredible talent. From historical artists like Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Leonora Carrington, to some of the most prolific living artists, like Gabriel Orozco and Eduardo Terrazas (who will also be participating in this year’s Venice Biennale), the city has played an integral role in defining art history as we know it today.

Casa Luis Barragan in Mexico City. Courtesy of Oliver Fiegel.

Innovative galleries and cutting-edge exhibitions

Over the years, some of the most exciting and cutting-edge galleries have emerged out of Mexico City, such as Kurimanzutto and OMR. Kurimanzutto, which was launched in 1999, has helped propel the careers of internationally renowned artists, such as Oscar Murillo, Danh Vo and Sarah Lucas, while also having their pulse on up and coming talent, such as WangShui (the American artist who was featured on our Artists to Watch 2024 list, and who has just been announced as a participant in this year’s Venice Biennale). During the week of Zona Maco, Galeria Mascota debuted a solo-presentation of Emily Kraus, the exciting young painter who has been dominating the emerging London art scene (and also made our Artists to Watch list) – another signal that Mexican galleries are heavily tuned in to the latest trends and artists from around the world. 

Paulina Olowska's exhibition at Kurimanzutto Gallery in Mexico City. Courtesy of the gallery.

Prolific collectors in the city

The flourishing art scene of the city has been supported and has grown alongside the devoted collectors that showed an early interest in local and international artists. The quiet Mexican art market of the 90s allowed collectors to acquire large collections of Mexican artists, while continuously exploring the international art scene. Some of the most prominent collectors that should be mentioned are: the founder of the pre-mentioned gallery Kurimanzutto, Monica Manzutto and Jose Kuri, the philanthropist couple Isabel and Augustin Coppel and Eugenio Lopez Alonso, whose collection of over 3000 pieces of contemporary art establish him as one of the most important collectors of our generation. Wanting to make art more accessible to the public he made his dream a reality with the creation of the Foundation and Museum Jumex in 2013 in the very heart of Mexico city. This institution has become one of the most important actors in the establishment of Mexico as one of the new leading capitals of art.

Inside Eugenio Lopez' house in Mexico City. Courtesy of Galerie Magazine.