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Zelika Garcia: What’s New in the Art World of Mexico City

Indagare is thrilled to be partnering with Design Miami/ to present a design-focused Insider Journey to experience a preview of this year’s art fair. Click here to learn more.

Known for having sharp fashion style, a passion for her home country and an eye for up-and-coming design, Zélika García is the founder and president of  ZONAMACO, one of most recognized art and design fairs in Latin America. Based in Mexico City, the fair is presenting its 15th edition this February (7–11). In establishing the program, García has worked with hundreds of collectors, gallerists and artists, and has been a force in bringing international interest to undiscovered talent in Latin America. Indagare spoke with García about the upcoming fair, the best places to shop for art (and eat) in Mexico City, the future of contemporary Latin American design and more.

Learn more about the upcoming Indagare Insider Journey for the ZONAMACO preview or contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to Mexico City. Our specialists can book you at the hotel that is right for you and plan guided tours, great meals and activities.

What prompted you to decide to start Zona Maco?

I have always loved art, aesthetics and design. I studied art at the University of Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico because I wanted to be an artist, and at that time I fell in love with creating. Later, I felt the need to create an art project in Mexico with an international impact, and that is how I started with ZONAMACO.

What are you hoping to share with your audience through the February 2018 exhibition? How will it be different from past years?

[ZONAMACO is divided into four sections: the main exhibition of galleries with work by contemporary international artists and designers, an exhibition titled “New Proposals,” which features the work of undiscovered artists, both local and international, an exhibition of contemporary Latin American artists (“ZONAMACO SUR”) and a historical section displaying modern works from artists in the first half of the 20th century.]

We are celebrating our 15th anniversary this year, and this will be the second time that we are showing so many international exhibitors (over 160). The New Proposals section will present an exhibition space titled “SAMPLE,” which features artwork by non-established artists and alternative gallery spaces. ZONAMACO Sur this year is curated by the London and São Paulo-based Kiki Mazzucchelli, with a proposal that enriches the fair with new artists from São Paulo—such as Raquel Arnaud, Emma Thomas and Eduardo Fernandes. In addition, we will have booths with special projects in support of Oaxaca, Chiapas and other regions of Mexico, including those that have been impacted by the recent natural disasters.

Related: Natural Disaster Update: How You Can Help

What are your tips for transformative, off-the-beaten-path, authentic experiences in Mexico City?

There are incredible places within the city and its surroundings. For example, the borough of Xochimilco—which was once its own independent city—is located to the south of the capital, where you can take a boat ride in a traditional and colorful trajinera and find traditional restaurants like El Acuario, which has the best mole (Av. Belisario Domínguez 76, 55-5843-2781). Nearby, you will find the Anahuacalli Museum, a temple-like structure that houses the pre-Hispanic objects that the artist Diego Rivera collected during his lifetime, along with a program of contemporary art exhibitions (San Pablo Tepetlapa). The Condesa and Roma areas are the main neighborhoods in the city, with galleries like Proyectos Monclova, Licenciado, Arróniz, Machete, Parque Galería and OMR. Five minutes away, San Miguel Chapultepec is a neighborhood with important venues like Casa Barragán—the home-and-studio-turned-museum of famed architect Luís Barragán—and galleries like Kurimanzutto, Enrique Guerrero and Proyecto Paralelo (Gobernador Rafael Rebollar 94; General Juan Cano 103; Alfonso Reyes 58); here, you can also find Tamayo Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (Paseo de la Reforma 51; Paseo de la Reforma y Gandhi). North of Chapultepec, the Polanco area offers great options such as the Jumex Museum, which has one of Latin America’s best contemporary art collections (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra 303). The Coyoacán area hosts the emblematic Frida Kahlo Museum, and downtown you will find Bellas Artes, which hosts great cultural events including concerts, dance performances, theatre and exhibitions by the most important modern and contemporary artists.

Related: Where to Travel in 2018: Nine to Know

What’s new in Mexico City? Are there any openings that you’re excited about?

There are several exhibitions that will be part of our program of activities during the fair. The Anahuacalli Museum is also featuring a solo show by Jesper Just, and the Museo de Arte Moderno (MAM) is opening The Most Beautiful Part, with works by emblematic Latin American artists. The Jorge Satorre gallery is presenting an installation and a series of drawings at the Tamayo Museum, and the Jumex Museum is featuring a solo show by Baldessari—just to mention a few.

What do you consider Latin America’s role to be within the greater international ecosystem of contemporary art and innovation? 

Latin America has a great strength that is increasing, and it is growing in every aspect. Each country in the region has its own projects and initiatives that undoubtedly contribute to the visibility and incorporation of Latin American artists into the international scene, and I am convinced that in the future the involvement will continue.

Related: Stylish in Mexico’s San Miguel de Allende

What are your favorite restaurants, shops or hotels in Mexico City?

There are a lot of interesting places within the city and its surroundings. My favorite restaurants are Contramar and Pujol, and I love the sushi-inspired tacos at Taco Omakase (Tennyson 133). For shopping, there are great options such as Carla Fernandez’s fashion store and Anndra Neen’s boutique for hand-made fashion, jewelry and accessories (Isabel La Católica 30, First Floor;Havre 46, Juárez). I also recommend visiting La Lagunilla market to shop for incredible furniture, as well as the Onora store in Polanco, which sells awesome design objects (López Rayón 46 lote 1;Lope de Vega 330).

How do the worlds of art and travel impact each other? How does this affect the work that you do?

Art and travel are related in an exceptional way. I am fortunate to work on a project that allows me to visit new places and learn other ways of expression. Art says a lot about the way that people perceive reality, and visiting other countries gives me the opportunity to understand the world from different perspectives. In my work, it is great to have friends and colleagues in many cities and countries, because it gives me a sense of their local communities and ways of thinking, which makes my experience traveling there different from simply visiting as a tourist. Ours is a fun and dynamic world where you can always learn.

Related: Top Tables Mexico City

Click here to learn more about our upcoming design-focused Insider Journey in partnership with Design Miami/ to experience an exclusive preview of the February 2018 ZONAMACO art fair.

Additionally, contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to Mexico City. Our specialists can book you at the hotel that is right for you and plan guided tours, great meals and activities.

– Elizabeth Harvey on December 21, 2017

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