Gaby Cepeda

  • 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).
    print October 19, 2021

    “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 Paena, 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

  • Lewis Hammond, Attachment, 2020, oil on linen, 32 × 51".

    Lewis Hammond

    Looking at Lewis Hammond’s deeply introverted works online before I ventured out of the house earlier this summer to see his show “Still Life,” I could imagine the oil paint recoiling from the overhead fluorescent lights, suspecting their glare would cover entire sections of the canvas with a flat, pale sheen. In the flesh, however, the paintings are fleshy, or flesh-threatening: cuddles, thorns, knives, bites, and spikes. The British artist’s works are big, their depictions intense. His images looked out of place in a tiny gallery that mostly specializes in small-format works.

    In Kyur (all works

  • Denilson Baniwa, Brasil terra indígena (Brazil Indigenous Land), 2020, HD video, color, silent, 4 minutes 52 seconds. Installation view, Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo. In collaboration with Coletivo Coletores.

    Where we’re at: Mexico City, São Paulo



    DURING THE MONTH of August, the Museo Anahuacalli and the Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico City received solo visitors, allowing them to freely wander the premises by themselves for forty minutes each. Called Museos Uno en Uno, the initiative was a way to expand museological practices to respond to the emotional needs of the Covid-drained-art-hungry public. It was only possible through the work of a disinterested group of museum professionals, art enthusiasts, and artists, many of whom volunteered as museum guards.

    Another support structure in Mexico City’s art world was

  • Charles Atlas, Butchers’ Vogue, 1990, video, color, sound, 4 minutes 50 seconds. From “Elements of Vogue.”

    “Elements of Vogue”

    Elements of Vogue. Un caso de estudio de performance radical” (Elements of Vogue: A Case Study in Radical Performance) welcomes the visitor with a showcase of the dancer D’relle West twirling euphorically in the streets of London during a solidarity protest that erupted shortly after the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Just two more videos of voguing appear in the exhibition, in a section at the end that brings together works of contemporary art whose themes overlap with key concerns of voguing and ballroom culture: pop music, queerness, fashion, and cultural appropriation.

  • Danh Vo, Untitled, 2019, mixed media. Installation view.

    Danh Vo

    Entering Danh Vo’s exhibition, visitors immediately faced a scaffolding-like wooden construction lined with foil mirrors. The gallery contained three such structures, made up of wooden beams supporting walls of intermittent mirrors, and the result was disorienting: One’s body was constantly reflected, exposed as part of the show. The mirrored panels of the first of these enclosures were mostly covered by a thin coat of mint-colored paint, with just the bottom part in one corner left untouched, so that one could see one’s feet moving around the room. I knew by reading about Vo’s exhibition this

  • Cristina Tufiño, Dancing at the End of the World, 2019, polymer clay, each approx. 9 × 4 × 8 1⁄2".

    Cristina Tufiño

    “It matters what ideas we use to think other ideas,” according to the anthropologist Marilyn Strathern, as quoted by Donna J. Haraway in her 2016 book Staying with the Trouble. This sentence reverberated in my mind as I walked through Cristina Tufiño’s first solo show in Mexico. Titled “Dancing at the End of the World,” the exhibition was spun from many ideas, and from materials both solid and incorporeal: first of all, from a scent, a nostalgic, luxuriant, almost funerary aroma concocted by the Escuela del Olor (School of Smell), a Puerto Rican project run by Adelaida Ortiz-Chiqués and Chaveli

  • Agustina Valera, El mundo del Ayahuasca (The World of Ayahuasca), 2019, ceramic, 33 1⁄2 × 15 3⁄4 × 19 3⁄4". From “Dar forma al tiempo.”

    “Dar forma al tiempo”

    The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Lima used to feel half-abandoned. Erected on the edge of a picturesque artificial pond in a beloved neighborhood park, it was immediately cursed with the resentment of the community it allegedly served. Since opening its doors in 2013, it has struggled to find its raison d’être. But since a major shakeup of the institution’s senior staff last year and the arrival of a new head curator, Giuliana Vidart its profile has started to change; word of her good work at the beleaguered museum has spread around town.

    Dar forma al tiempo. Miradas contemporáneas a la cerámica


    Curated by Cynthia Francica

    Carlos Arias Vicuña left his home country of Chile as a young boy, fleeing with his family in 1975, two years after Pinochet was forcibly installed as president. He returned in the 1980s to study fine art at the University of Chile in Santiago but has since lived in Mexico, where he built his career and gained recognition, especially for his embroideries. This show will introduce Chilean audiences to sixteen of his key pieces dating from the ’90s to 2018. The artist’s choice of embroidery as his medium challenges preconceived notions of gendered labor; he extends this