Explore the vibrant art scene in Roma, Mexico City
We go over the most outstanding contemporary art galleries of this peculiar district.
BY SOFIA CARREIRA WHAM (Instagram: @artlife_london)
Millions of people around the world have fallen in love with the magical neighbourhood of Roma since watching Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winning masterpiece. In its early C20th heyday, this colourful and contradictory quarter was an aristocratic and European hub, notably home to the legendary surrealist Leonora Carrington. Unfortunately, and already in decline, Roma was badly hit by Mexico’s devastating 1985 earthquake. After years of slow recovery and restoration, it is now a vibrant, verdant district with a burgeoning creative community and a fantastic array of contemporary art galleries.
Here are some of Roma’s unmissable art stops:
Established in 2005 by Teófilo Cohen and David Trabulsi, Proyectos Monclova is one of the foremost contemporary art galleries in Mexico. Their ambitious programme of exhibitions, publications, screenings and performances aims to encourage dialogue between Mexican and international artists from different generations. They work with an exciting roster of high profile and emerging artists, including Mexican giants Eduardo Terrazas and Helen Escobedo.
After several locations, the gallery found its permanent home in a converted former pool hall in Roma in 2012. This expansive two-storey space is an oasis of contemporary art, flooded with natural light and complete with a leafy living wall. You can also catch their curated booths at international fairs such as Art Basel Miami Beach, Frieze Masters and the Armory Show.
Arróniz Arte Contemporáneo
Arróniz is a must-visit gallery on any Roma art crawl, and you may well find your next favourite Mexican artist here. It was founded by Gustavo Arróniz in 2006 from a desire to promote a new generation of artists from Mexico and Latin America, and exhibits art across all mediums.
Alongside the main gallery, Arróniz operates a project room dedicated to artistic collaborations and special projects created in response to the space. They are also committed to showcasing Latin American art to a broader international audience through their participation in the experimental collaborative gallery platform No Place.
Leading European gallery Nordenhake has just opened an elegant, airy gallery in a converted Roma mansion - their third space after Berlin and Stockholm. This significant addition to Mexico City’s contemporary art landscape shows the strength of the local market and may mark the start of an international influx.
Nordenhake’s programme will take inspiration from the city’s dynamic history and collaborate with the artistic networks already in place. Their inaugural exhibition features an enchanting light installation by US artist Spencer Finch, inspired by the orange trees of Spanish playwright Federico García Lorca and designed specifically for the new gallery space.
Galería OMR is among the most prestigious galleries in Mexico, founded in 1983 by Patricia Ortiz Monasterio and Jaime Riestra. Located in a 1960s brutalist building, the raw concrete framework was left purposefully exposed and dark columns punctuate the gallery space. OMR’s unusual architecture lends their exhibitions a unique industrial ambience, setting them apart from the majority of galleries set in Roma’s luxuriously converted homes.
Recent exhibitions range from Mexican sculptor Jose Dávila, to acclaimed German photographer Thomas Ruff and immersive murals and tapestries by French artist Yann Gerstberger. OMR is also taking part in the 2019 Mexico City edition of Condo and is a regular on the international fair circuit.
Round off your art gallery trail with a visit to this iconic Roma landmark. This historic early C20th mansion was restored to its former glory and re-opened as a cultural centre in 1994. It notably houses an impressive permanent collection of modern and contemporary art amassed by Mexican media magnate Emilio Azcárraga.
Nowadays it also offers university art courses and contains a bookshop, library, archive, restaurant and multiple exhibition halls. Don’t miss the adjoining Galería Casa Lamm, a commercial research centre with a cutting edge contemporary art programme.