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BerandaLifestyleFamily & RelationshipsZona Maco Prepares for Its 20th Anniversary with a Tribute to the...

Zona Maco Prepares for Its 20th Anniversary with a Tribute to the Fair’s History and a New $100,000 Prize

When Zona Maco was founded 20 years ago by Zélika García, Mexico City’s art scene was just at the beginning of its latest boom. Looking at some of the city’s top galleries today, Galería OMR had been in business for about a decade, and the founders of Kurimanzutto, José Kuri and Monica Manzutto, have been staging outré projects with the artists they would later represent for around five years. terimaqq

In the two decades since, the fair has established itself as one of the most important within Latin America, and its date in early February is a welcome reprieve for visitors coming from winter climates. Among the fair’s hallmarks has been inviting curators to organize special sections, a rarity back in the early 2000s. Among those who have organized those sections are curators like Adriano Pedrosa, Pablo León de la Barra, Patrick Charpenel, and others. The fair has only continued to grow in recent years, adding satellites for design (in 2011), antiquities (2014), and photography (2015), which all came under the same roof in 2023.

For this edition, the fair has hired a new artistic director, Direlia Lazo. ARTnews spoke with Lazo ahead of the fair to learn more about what visitors should expect this week, including its curated sections and new $100,000 prize.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

ARTnews: Can you speak about your involvement with Zona Maco and its legacy on the occasion of its 20th anniversary?

Direlia Lazo: My journey with the fair began in 2021. I was invited to curate the Ejes section, so I have been involved with it for three years now. It has been very enriching to see the growth and to go through different phases. I feel very lucky to start in this position in a celebratory edition because, of course, it’s a moment, looking back to the first one and how the different visions have been articulated. Bringing curators [to organize sections of the fair] have been central to the evolution of the discourse at the fair. terimaqq

The moment when Zona Maco decided to have like the Sur section, for example, was a pivotal moment. Many of the curators who have passed through Sur are now playing a major role internationally, like Adriano Pedrosa, who was one of the first curators of the Sur section [in 2009, 2010, and 2011], is the curator of the [2024] Venice Biennale. When I saw the list of artists for the Venice Biennale, I realized that we will have so many artists from that list who will also be showcased at the fair. In the Ejes section, [the Indigenous Brazilian artist collective] MAHKU will be presented by Carmo Johnson Projects. In the main [galleries] section, Ana Segovia and Barbara Sánchez-Kane will be presented by Kurimanzutto, Frieda Toranzo Jaeger by Travesía Cuatro, Eduardo Terrazas by Proyectos Monclova, Olga de Amaral and Miguel Angel Rojas by La Cometa, Superflex by OMR, and Ione Saldanha by Simões de Assis, among others.

In a way, revisiting this history, it all makes sense where Zona Maco is right now—seeing these two scenes grow together and their importance in the art world. And, of course, Mexico City has always been very vibrant and rich, and right now people are paying more attention to the culture of Mexico.

Are there any special initiatives this year that are celebrating this moment?

We created this platform called Forma for the first time. We invited galleries with longtime relationships with the fair to propose special projects. We received a number of proposals showcasing historic works, site-specific pieces, and works that have been shown in museums abroad but haven’t been seen in Mexico. So, we put together this program that is meant for large-scale sculpture that will be placed around the fair. I’m really passionate about this because in my curatorial journey, I have been very involved in site-specific and large-scale programs. It’s something I’d like to continue for the future of the fair. Among the projects this year are a historic piece by Mathias Goeritz, presented by La Caja Negra Gallery; Galleria Continua will feature an immersive installation by Osvaldo Gonzalez, and Henrique Faria and RGR will offer a site-specific installations by Emilio Chapela and Julio Le Parc, respectively. Also, Ehrhardt Florez Gallery will introduce sculptures by Rosa Tharrats, Kurimanzutto will showcase a Gabriel Kuri sculpture, and OMR will present a giant vase piece by Eduardo Sarabia. terimaqq