Fabiola Iza

  • Mónica Mayer, Wednesday (from the series “Diary of Everyday Acts of Violence”), 1984, gouache, ink, pastel and photocopy on paper, 27 1/2 x 35 3/8".
    interviews August 06, 2021

    Mónica Mayer

    A pioneer of feminist art in Mexico, Mónica Mayer uses humor and satire to address gender-related topics largely absent from public discourse. Intimidades . . . o no. Arte, vida y feminismo (Intimate Matters . . . or Not. Art, Life, and Feminism, Editorial Diecisiete) surveys her prolific writing practice, a vital extension of her artistic output for more than four decades. At a time when gender-based violence is surging throughout Mexico, Mayer’s writing reminds us that the feminist struggle—in the art world and beyond—is always waged on the battleground of language.


  • Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Importa qué materias usamos para pensar otras materias (It Matters What Matters We Use to Think Other Matters With), 2020, ink-jet print on cotton paper. 18 1⁄2 × 18 1⁄2". From the series “La resistencia” (The Resistance), 2020.

    Verónica Gerber Bicecci

    “Imagine you are lying on Freud’s couch,” historian John Forrester urges the reader in a 1997 essay on the father of psychoanalysis and his compulsion for collecting. “What can you see?” I envision figurines from ancient cultures, small busts of mythical characters, and paintings, in all of which Freud would find the inspiration for his theories of dreams and the unconscious. He meticulously crafted a complex worldview on the basis of those fragments of clay, marble, stone, and metal, as from the ancient fabrics hanging on his walls. Verónica Gerber Bicecci’s exhibition “Descalzos los pies, los

  • Jorge Méndez Blake, Haiku para estacionamien (Haiku for Parking), 2020, automobile and books.
    slant December 11, 2020

    Switching Gears

    AS ELSEWHERE, the impact of social distancing on Mexico City’s artistic activity has been relentless. This year, the closest thing we have to the city’s annual Gallery Weekend, a hectic, weeklong affair canceled due to Covid-19, is the novel initiative “Museo Autoservicio” (Self-Service Museum). Conceived by curator and Mexican modern art scholar Daniel Garza Usabiaga, the project’s first outing, titled “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” and on through December 20, appoints itself (falsely) as “the first-ever drive-thru exhibition.” Installed in the underground parking lot of

  • Diego Pérez, El sabueso del Vasco (The Hound of Vasco), 2020, carved lava stone, 26 3/4 × 21 5/8 × 22 1/2".

    Diego Pérez

    An unusual tension between sand and stone propelled Diego Pérez’s exhibition “Historia de arena” (History of Sand). Pérez used sand to make three maquettes (Mesa infinita [Infinite Mesa] 1, 2, and 3, 2020) that evoked archetypal edifices with staircases leading to the sky. The material also featured prominently in two photographic series—“Apuntes para la mesa infinita” (Notes for Infinite Mesa) and “Apuntes para la mesa infinita. Vista panorámica” (Notes for Infinite Mesa: Panoramic View), both 2020—that portray stepped pyramids vaguely resembling those of ancient Mesoamerica in the form of

  • Camel Collective, Gated Commune, 2018, video, black-and-white, 9 minutes 3 seconds.
    picks July 02, 2020

    Camel Collective

    This online exhibition, a nine-minute video essay titled Gated Commune, 2018, is an unsettling sendup of modernist problem-solving that befits our dystopian moment. Over grainy black-and-white footage of insects, polluted landscapes, and melting icecaps, a female voice-over flatly recounts the attempts of two camps—“the futurists” and the “neo-primitivists,” stand-ins for the avant-garde as a whole—to organize cities that seemingly invoke Situationist concepts like psychogeography and unitary urbanism, or others that could be closer to Yves Klein’s zones of immaterial pictorial sensibility. “

  • View of “Beatriz Zamora,” 2020.

    Beatriz Zamora

    Determination is the backbone of Beatriz Zamora’s practice: Since 1977, she has devoted her career exclusively to “El negro” (The Black), a continuing monochromatic quest. Defined by the artist as “a cosmic theory,” the series is grounded on the conception of the color black as an absolute. This formulation, drawn both from physics and from mysticism, engages with the color as a primordial source of life and silence—an originary void. The result has been more than three thousand black abstract paintings that, for evident reasons, have sometimes been reductively compared to the pictorial language

  • Diego Rivera, Paisaje zapatista (Zapatista Landscape), 1915, oil on canvas, 56 x 48".
    picks February 04, 2020

    “Emiliano. Zapata despues de Zapata”

    Mónica Castillo’s Plato de Zapata (Zapata’s Dish), 1987, depicts the severed head of Emiliano Zapata, the worshipped agrarian leader of the Mexican Revolution, served on a platter surrounded by forks and knives. In a country where the past is idealized to such extent that it becomes fixed, its (male) protagonists turned into secular saints, the vision is, to say the least, a strident one. However, in this exhibition—whose discourse has been blunted by histrionic protesters—curator Luis Vargas Santiago successfully argues that Zapata’s popularity eclipses his untouchability: Culling over one

  • François Bucher, A celestial event, no words, they should have sent a poet, 2017, cyanotype, 8 1⁄4 × 11 3⁄4".

    François Bucher

    The Greek word logos—reason, discourse—stands at the core of the Western conception of the world, denoting the rationality through which reality is shaped or perceived. François Bucher’s exhibition “Contact—(cosmic background noise explorer)” welcomed visitors with Logos, 2017—the word spelled out in white neon letters, hanging upside down. One could read the text right side up only through its reflection in a puddle of water: The unlit room where it was displayed had been carefully flooded. The space between the word and its mirrored image, like a gap between dimensions, was the perfect prelude

  • Magdalena Fernández, 2i019, 2019, site-specific installation.
    picks November 13, 2019

    Magdalena Fernández

    A visit to Magdalena Fernández’s retrospective feels like taking a quiz on modernist abstract art—her works echo that era’s compositions and motifs, summoning such icons as Malevich, Mondrian, Lygia Clark, and Gego. The pieces on display, however, which span the eleven most recent years of Fernández’s career, elude our expectations for appropriation art. Take 1iHO008. Homenaje a Hélio Oiticica (1iHO008. Homage to Hélio Oiticica), 2008, an immersive video installation in which the blue squares and rectangles from said work, projected onto all four of the gallery’s walls, slowly pace around the

  • Maruch Sántiz Gómez, Pedazos de tortilla quemada y lo mordido por el ratón (Pieces of Burnt Tortilla and Bitten by the Mouse), 1994, gelatin silver print on paper, 22 5⁄8 × 18 3⁄4". From the series “Creencias” (Beliefs), 1994–96. From “Los huecos del agua” (The Gaps of Water).

    “The Gaps of Water: Recent Indigenous Art from Mexico”

    Mexico, according to the anthropologist Guillermo Bonfil Batalla, struggles to reconcile the two poles of its identity: Imaginary Mexico, which adheres to the Western project and seeks to propel it, and Deep Mexico, constituted by a resistant social base made up of the peoples who incarnate Mesoamerican civilization. This persistent conflict is reflected in the country’s contradictory attitudes toward the material culture of its indigenous peoples: While pre-Columbian artifacts are cherished as national treasures and exhibited with great fanfare in museums, the contemporary artistic output of

  • Cosima von Bonin, OPEN YOUR SHIRT PLEASE 7, 2019, metal and plush toys, 56 x 55 x 39".
    picks June 14, 2019

    Cosima von Bonin

    Cosima von Bonin, as most familiar with her art already know, works from her bed. From there, she undertakes a collaborative process with craftspeople, modeling artists, musicians, and, in this case, her gallerists to bring her works to fruition. “Shit and Chanel,” her first exhibition in Mexico, could well be the materialization of a collective nightmare: The artist has filled the gallery with plush animal figures in comical situations of entrapment—physical, psychological, or otherwise.

    The show takes as its point of departure an anxiety-ridden GIF, in which Daffy Duck tries to avoid being

  • Helen Escobedo, Eclipse, 1968, lacquered wood, 79 1⁄8 × 29 7⁄8 × 28 3⁄4".

    Helen Escobedo

    Most narratives of Mexican art from the late 1960s through the early ’80s focus on the collectives known as Los Grupos and describe an almost caricatural display of macho anti-institutionalism and political commitment. These dominant histories overlook the work of contemporaries who shared those groups’ critical views but expressed them with a lighter touch, among them Helen Escobedo (1934–2011). This exhibition, “The Potential of Sculpture,” delicately shattered such historical clichés, bringing together more than seventy newly restored works—maquettes, sculptures, paintings, drawings, and