Gaby Cepeda

  • View of “Débora Delmar,” 2023. From left: Frontier, 2023; Fort, 2023. Photo: Ramiro Chaves.
    print March 15, 2023

    Débora Delmar

    Débora Delmar is an astute critic of the aesthetic habits of her own class. Brought up in a cushy golf club in the moneyed southern part of Mexico City, she is observant of the ways in which, through gentrification and the privatization of public space, the logic of the gated neighborhood has expanded to dominate the entirety of the city. In “Castles,” Delmar’s first exhibition in her hometown in almost ten years, she articulates that critique with surgical precision.

    At the very entrance, Delmar has built a high white wall that she adorned with Locator “66” (all works 2023), an illuminated house

  • Ana Segovia and Diego Vega Solorza, Paisajes, 2022. Performance view, Galería Karen Huber, September 20, 2022. Dancer (Tonatihu Saguilan). Photo: Pablo Astorga.

    Ana Segovia

    Paisajes” (Landscapes) was Ana Segovia’s third solo show at Karen Huber, a gallery focused mainly on painting. In the first two, the artist honed his craft, landing on a striking color palette and finding a knack for tight-cut compositions reminiscent of film stills or fashion photography. He also experimented with murals, replicating the emblematic one depicting an amateur bullfighter sneaking into a field, which adorns a wall at La Faena, the bullfight-themed cantina frequented by local artists in Mexico City. All of these elements reappeared in this exhibition, which included eight recent

  • Romeo Gómez López, ASTROPAPI, 2022, script, play, scenery, puppets, and video recording, dimensions variable.
    picks November 15, 2022

    Romeo Gómez López

    Romeo Gómez López’s bunraku-inspired, post-porn, gay puppet romance, ASTROPAPI, 2022, is set on a futuristic post-Mexican space station dedicated to the extraction of water from meteorites and—if one is to believe its toxically macho secondary character, Enrique—the occasional looting of gold. The first thing one notices is how good-looking the main puppet is, sporting the best eyebrows an Instagram model could ask for. He plays Jonathan, a “deconstructed” male worker recently employed by Astroplas, the intergalactic water company, prone to lines such as: “Once you recognize yourself as a

  • Jill Magid, Tender Balance, 2021, HD video, color, sound, 28 minutes.

    Jill Magid

    Jill Magid’s show at Labor was also the fourth iteration of her traveling exhibition “Tender,” which was previously presented in Chicago, Fort Worth, and New York, or maybe the fifth, if you count the book version. In line with Magid’s heavily process-based practice, “Tender” started out as a work of the same name from 2020: a pandemic endeavor in which Magid purchased 400,000 uncirculated pennies from the US Mint and inscribed the edges of 120,000 of them with the sentence THE BODY WAS ALREADY SO FRAGILE. The total dollar amount of $1,200 referred to the sum that Americans received as a first

  • Donna Huanca, BLISS STARTE/GOLDEN HOUR, 2021, oil and sand on digital print on canvas, 94 × 75".

    Donna Huanca

    Berlin-based Bolivian-American artist Donna Huanca, through a dimly lit indigo tunnel. It led to a wall illuminated by the projected hues of DOS, PIEDRA QUEMADA (CLAY), PARRAJO (Two, Burnt Stone [Clay], Vine), 2021, a silent video of moving colors painted on the skin of what looked like a human belly crunching, stretching. At one point, mischievous squirts of copper paint come at the earth-and-sky colors on the belly: blue, green, yellow, bits of white clouds and black birds. Promptly, a hand appears to smear the metallic paint, its sheen taking over everything, penetrating skin folds, oozing

  • Carolina Fusilier, Sunday 7:25 pm, 2021, oil on canvas, 59 × 78 3⁄4".

    Carolina Fusilier

    Carolina Fusilier’s work has previously concerned itself with the metaphysics of the nonhuman, even the inorganic: To what gods do machines pray? In her latest exhibition, Fusilier expanded on that inquiry to ponder whether anything can exist outside of time. The show’s title, “Clepsidra,” refers, like its English cognate clepsydra, to a water clock, one of the most ancient kinds of timepiece. The first room of the gallery held three paintings. Sunday 7:25 pm (all works 2021) depicts a mostly red bedroom with a wide rectangular window that itself recursively opens onto a kind of portal, a white

  • Alan Balthazar, _Untitled (10417) , 2015–2022, digital print on photo matte Bre 200gr, 15 3/4 x 18 3/8''.
    picks March 16, 2022

    Alan Balthazar

    Enlarged, brightly colored film strips punctuated with sprocket holes hang around the tiny Salón Silicón gallery. There are seven pictures in total, all presented in thin black frames, although in another sense there are many more, overlapping and melting together within each composition. Alan Balthazar, the photographer behind these images, created hallucinatory sequences of male nudes by experimenting with multiple exposures and unusual color flash techniques: She would scribble on the flash head with red, blue, or yellow Sharpie, and sometimes paint over it with nail polish. The works on view

  • Alicia Ayanegui, La luz proviene de ahí (The Light Comes from Within), 2021, oil on paper, 27 1⁄2 × 19 3⁄4”. From “La luz proviene de ahí” (The Light Comes from Within).

    “The Light Comes from Within”

    I’m fed up with the trend of all-women shows. So many of them are put together carelessly, with curators assuming a shared gender to be enough common ground to justify an exhibition. Delightfully, that was not the case at “La luz proviene de ahí” (The Light Comes from Within), a thoughtful grouping of artworks by young Mexican artists. Here, the relationships the pieces wove among themselves allowed fresh insights.

    The highlight—and a thematic anchor for the show—was Astrid Terraza’s Cantando himnos en el jardín atrás de Walgreens (Singing Hymns in the Garden Behind Walgreens), 2020. Its imagery,

  • View of “ASMA and Jorge Satorre,” 2021. Photo: Ramiro Chaves.

    ASMA and Jorge Satorre

    Mexico City’s Art Week, organized by the ZonaMaco fair in the last week of April, brought out many spur-of-the-moment, impulsive-feeling offerings as it spread throughout the capital’s gallery districts. These included some odd pairings, but none as surprising as the mash-up of ASMA and Jorge Satorre at Labor, the gallery’s second collaboration with Peana, an art space based in Monterrey in northeast Mexico. Satorre is a respected midcareer-ish local artist with a résumé that includes solo shows, museum exhibitions, international residencies, and prizes, while ASMA, comprising Mexican Hanya

  • View of “Gabriel Rico: I May Use an Electric Drill, but I Also Use a Hammer,” 2021. From left: Can you smell maths? (Pink Deer), 2021; Can you smell maths? (Watermelon Oryx), 2021. Photo: Fernando Marroquin.

    Gabriel Rico

    The fox is elusive. Or maybe it’s a coyote? It’s hard to tell, because the 3D modeling is less than perfect, plus I’m chasing it with an iPad using augmented-reality visualization. Its ambiguous coyoteness brings to mind The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge (1968), a work of fiction that Carlos Castaneda passed off as thrilling anthropology back in the golden era of New Age California. In the book, Castaneda hears that “there are things that appear to be coyotes, but are not.” But, instead of guiding the viewer toward the depths of the universe, the fox merely strolls around the

  • Cildo Meireles, Tiradentes: Totem-Monumento ao preso politico (Tiradentes: Totem-Monument to the Political Prisoner), 1970, wooden pole, white cloth, thermometer, live chickens, gasoline, fire. Performance view, Parque Municipal de Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 1970. Photo: Luiz Alphonsus. From “The Missing Circle.”

    “The Missing Circle”

    An art exhibition dealing with the history of violence in the whole of Latin America could never have been other than sprawling. Curated by Magalí Arriola and organized by Museo Amparo in collaboration with nonprofit organization Kadist and the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Colombia, where the show originated, “The Missing Circle” was the culmination of a peripatetic three-year process. The project involved the commissioning of artworks from Brazilian-Argentinean artist Carla Zaccagnini, Belarusian-French duo Rometti Costales, and Guatemalan artist Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, which were

  • Karla Kaplun, Escena: Acto II (Scene: Act II), 2020, oil on canvas, wooden frame, 92 1⁄4 × 73 5⁄8 × 2".

    Karla Kaplun

    I had a lot of curiosity coming into this exhibition. It had been three years since Gaga had shown a local artist; Karla Kaplun is young, and “La Compañia” (The Company) was her first solo show in an established gallery. Intriguing, too, was the traditional sensibility of her pieces: figurative oil paintings, a couple of them large-format and encased in ornate wooden frames.

    Kaplun puts a fresh twist on eighteenth-century academicism and seventeenth-century Baroque. Her subjects are sometimes biblical—they include a Madonna in one painting, a figure with stigmata in a pose that recalls the