By Jorge Fernández Era
To represent again Arte por Excelencias magazine at Zona Maco International Fair of Contemporary Art was a challenge, and I confess that I did it with fear: that, as had been pointed out in this medium last year, the signs of accentuated preponderance of the commercial side to the detriment of the artistic one observed last year would prevail once again in this edition of 2018. But my expectations were widely surpassed and the event grew not only in number of exhibitors and public, but in artistic maturity as well. The curators took pains, perhaps because of the desire to stand out in the midst of a panorama made up of the most renowned galleries in the world. The main success: we attended a giant exhibition and not a sum of expositions.
Let us see some data provided by the organizers: "the fair included a selection of one hundred and seventy exhibitors from twenty-seven countries in America, Europe and Asia, as well as a conference program with more than fifty international guests, a section of editorials and publications, and various activities in collaboration with allies and sponsors, to turn Mexico City into the epicenter of collecting, in the most important fairground of Latin America”.
Nobody should doubt the latter statement. I felt that while practically dragging my suitcase along its long and wide aisle where the number of magazines that I had brought in 2017 was doubled. Citibanamex, in addition to its functional design, exhibited impressive amplitude: an event on computer science and another one with a lot of ecological food were in session without interfering with each other in Zona Maco.
But let us continue with what, as a final report, we are told about the Contemporary Art Fair: some prizes were awarded among which, for Cuban art, stood out the one for emerging artists under 40 years of age that will be bestowed upon our compatriot Osvaldo González who came representing Servando gallery. The recognition, consisting in the acquisition of the works that are part of the Espacio de fe series, was granted by the JSA Arquitectura company. There were two other acquisition prizes: the Artz Pedregal, for sculptures and/or large scale installations - the selected piece will be permanently exhibited in the central park of an urban center in the south of the city – went to Damián Ortega with Torch Lamp and the Tequila 1800 collection, presented in four pieces by a curatorial committee. Finally, the high-end clothing and jewelry Tommy Hilfiger company made an open call for design students to propose works that reflect the unique spirit of various Mexican cities; the winners were Citlali Haro, Alejandra Ramos and Aldo Islas.
And for you to see what a motley universe Arte por Excelencias moved along, it is fair to state that we shared our stand, just at the entrance of the pavilion D of Citibanamex, with publications of the caliber of Art Nexus, Artforum, Artheorica, Animal and Earthquake, and with multiple publishers from all over the world that turned that segment of the site into a unique Book Fair.
And regarding record attendance, Zona Maco Fair of Contemporary Art, the most important in Latin America, reached this time 62,000 visitors; 62,001 if your humble servant is counted.