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BerandaLifestyleArt & CultureThe Best Booths at Mexico City’s Material Art Fair, Where Young Galleries...

The Best Booths at Mexico City’s Material Art Fair, Where Young Galleries Bring Out Their Best

Material, one of Mexico City’s most closely watched art fairs, has returned for its 10th anniversary edition this year, opening to VIPs on Thursday morning. With booths spread across two floors of the Expo Reforma convention center in Colonia Juárez, the offerings here are strong. There’s great art to behold, many artists to learn about, and wonderful conversations to be had. 7meter

One of Material’s newest initiatives is the relaunch of its Proyectos section. At this edition of the fair, six spaces are chosen to participate for free in the fair, where they partnered with a curator to serve as a mentor and are given access to various services to help them grow their programs. All the galleries in this cohort are from beyond Mexico City. Though they are younger, emerging spaces, they have quickly established themselves as important to their communities. Three come from border cities: Tijuana, Mexicali, and Ciudad Juárez. The robust showings here prove how a fair can help a newer generation of dealers in a meaningful way.

Below, a look at the best booths at Material, which runs through February 11.

Salvador de la Torre at Azul Arena

An installation featuring various ceramic objects and a video.

Photo : Maximilíano Durón/ARTnews

One of the standouts from the Proyectos section is the booth of the Ciudad Juárez–based Azul Arena, whose stated intention is to combat negative imagery and stereotypes that pervade conversations of the US-Mexico border in popular media. To fulfill that goal, the gallery presents work by artists with lived experiences along the borderlands. 7meter

All four artists showing here are exhibiting work that deals with gender. Alejandra Aragón studies the history of the color pink; Alonso Robles explores how young men learn about societal expectations of men as chambelanes in quinceañeras; Mariana Ajo looks at how women perform in front of the camera.

Salvador de la Torre, who grew up in Laredo, Texas, and is now based in Los Angeles, tackles similar themes in rough-hewn ceramics in white, black, and various shades of brown. Half are differently shaped nipples—they allude to the process of top surgery, before which a doctor asks a patient how they would like their nipples to appear. The other half documents a trans man’s transition of his clitoris into an enlarged shape that resembles a penis after beginning hormone therapy. Accompanying these works is The Weight of Balls, a short video showing de la Torre walking along a Juárez street. He drags a pair of ceramic testicles that measure around three feet. De la Torre thought the ceramic balls would break when he staged the performance; they didn’t, and he plans to continue to reenact this performance until they do. 7meter