Galería Kurimanzutto

AS SPECIFIC AS A BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT, it was the first thing you read on the back of the small poster that served as the invitation to an exhibition: “The Kurimanzutto Gallery was founded on August 21, 1999, in Mexico City, by Mónica Manzutto, José Kuri, and Gabriel Orozco with thirteen artists to collaborate and represent their work: Minerva Cuevas, Eduardo Abaroa, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Damián Ortega, Philippe Hernández, Gabriel Kuri, Sofia Táboas, Jonathan Hernández, Fernando Ortega, Alejandro Carrasco, Luis Felipe Ortega, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Daniel Guzmán.”

Kurimanzutto doesn't have its own space but invents a new situation with each of its interventions. The first such event—there have now been four all told—“Economía de Mercado” (Market economy), lasted only a day: The artists showed their wares, so to speak, at a market stand in Mexico City. The prices of the artworks were in line with those of other consumer goods for sale at adjacent stands. Tonight, don't forget to buy onions, peppers, olive oil, and a work of art—and why not? Don't galleries offer sustenance from time to time? After orchestrating various other events (including film and video screenings in a movie theater and a party in a carpet shop), Kurimanzutto was transported overseas, to the Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris (from May 13 to June 29), thanks to the initiative of Gabriel Orozco, who also enjoyed a major one-person show this summer at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (see above). In Paris his work could be found alongside that of the thirteen aforementioned artists and a piece by the enigmatic Dr. Lakra.

The result is a cocktail of joyous bric-a-brac spread throughout the gallery space, which opened a few of its usually inaccessible corners to the visitor. Among the twenty-seven works on view were Philippe Hernández's Gazstation (all works 2000), a rubber mat bearing a simple line drawing of a man filling up the gas tank of his car; Gabriel Kuri's Carretilla 5, an old wheelbarrow filled with gold and silver Christmas tinsel garlands; and Jonathan Hernández's Bonnes affaires (Good deals), an installation that combined banners bearing the words “succès” (success), “vente massive” (giant sale), “achat vente” (buy sell), and of course “bonnes affaires” with advertisements, cans of dog food, and a video showing a wild crowd of shoppers stampeding to the opening of a department store. At the prompting of Minerva Cuevas, the Chantal Crousel gallery agreed to provide a personalized letter of recommendation to anyone who asked for it (relief for the art world's unemployed?). Union-Séparation boasted a hand-cranked, rotating platform on which its creator, Damián Ortega, mounted a camera: A film produced by the activation of this primitive machine was projected on a glass door in the basement of the gallery. But no matter how engaging the individual works, it was the playful spirit of the whole that prevailed over the sum of its parts. Who knows what Kurimanzutto's future will bring—a concert? a soccer match? a press conference? Perhaps even the launching of a few artistic careers.

Jean-Pierre Criqui is a frequent contributor to Artforum.

Translated from French by Jeanine Herman.