Surveying one local scene in a specific period is always hard to do in an innovative manner that fits the sensibilities of the artists and contextualizes their practices the right way. The environments struggling with rapid social and political shifts seem challenging, especially if they are on the periphery of global art trends.
Nevertheless, there are exceptions such as the Mexican art scene, which has been gradually changing starting from the early 2000s. Throughout these 20 years, it has become a vibrant hotspot that nurtured numerous young artists to international recognition.
To revisit the leading proponents, manifestations, and general pulse of the Mexican art scene today, the privately owned Museo Jumex organized an exhibition called Normal Exceptions: Contemporary Art in Mexico.
Curated by Kit Hammonds, Chief Curator, Adriana Kuri Alamillo, and Cindy Peña, Curatorial Assistants, Museo Jumex, the current exhibition consisting of 60 works is mostly drawn from Colección Jumex, while some works were loaned by invited artists and organizations.
To best portray the dominating tendencies in the Mexican art scene, the curators started their process by closely examining the term "microhistory" that indicates the study of history from the perspective of individuals and their encounters with authority.
The exhibition starts with three sections that show how Mexican artists used common activities, materials, and objects to articulate what is lost and how it may be recuperated.
In the opening section, Portraits includes the works of the artists who captured daily life; Excavations includes artists focused on unraveling material manifestations of time and history through specific objects and actions, while Transformations examines how such objects may become traces of events and people.
In the following section, Records revisits recording technologies such as vinyl records and early electronic media; Markets explores places of formal and informal exchange, while Interventions explores the interruption of the normal flow of daily life via public interventions.
The other three installations are also displayed (all curated in collaboration with an organization that has played a significant role in the formation of contemporary art in Mexico). The first called Paisajes consists of numerous activities organized in collaboration with the independent art space SOMA. Sessions led by Yoshua Okón, Eduardo Abaroa, TLC, and Adriana Salazar tend to explore different aspects of the urban development of the Nuevo Polanco district in which the museum is located, and the results of these participative actions will be displayed in the gallery. The following two installations will be curated in collaboration with INSITE and ZsONAMACO.
The last chapter of the installment will be a solo exhibition called Jorge Satorre: Los negros that reunites different chapters of the project for the first time in Mexico in a specially crafted constellation featuring hidden elements in the gallery and museum itself.
Due to the pandemic, Museo Jumex made sure to offer dense online programming titled Museo en casa that includes free online courses with leading Mexican critical thinkers, as well as videos, images, and texts. The details regarding online programming for the current exhibition will be featured on the museum’s website.
Normal Exceptions: Contemporary Art in Mexico will be on display at Museo Jumex in Mexico until 15 August 2021.
Featured images: Installation views, Normal Exceptions: Contemporary Art in Mexico Museo Jumex, 2021. Photos: Ramiro Chaves.