Mexican Art Market and Its Art Collectors Scene

Zona Maco and its 15th edition of wonders

Always swinging between extremes of wealth and poverty, Mexico and its complex political, social and cultural situation definitely reflects on the arts and makes them flourishing towards an edgy creativity. On a slow but steady rise through the last decades, Mexico City and its contemporary art scene has recently become a fierce rival to New York and Paris, gaining more and more the attention from independent curators, international gallerists, art writers and collectors. Although Monterrey, Tijuana, Guadalajara and Oaxaca have an interesting art scene worth seeing.

Despite the market downturns affecting the entire Latin American area, the art market is showing quite a growth with an interesting serie of private collections and museums – think about the Fundación Alfredo Harp Helù in Oaxaca, the Museo Amparo in Puebla, the CIAC – Colección Isabel y Agustin Coppel and the Fundacio Jumex in Mexico City. But also with the presence of independent publishing houses, internationally recognized art fairs, bustling cultural spaces, remarkable no-profits, and other creative initiatives.

Focusing on the contemporary art fair scene, Mexico City maintains its place in the Top Art Fair Cities in 2016, counting 3 major fairs against the 1 respectively in 2012 and 2006 – according to Arts Economics and (2017). And Zona Maco, founded in 2002 by Zélika Garcia, has been establishing itself as one of the most interesting platforms in the area. With its 130 galleries from around 27 countries distributed into five sections – Main Section, New Proposals, Zona Maco Sur, Modern Art, and Design – Zona Maco is rocking this 15th edition. That’s why we created the Art Super Zona Maco Collectors Guide 2018: to get you through the discovery of the most outstanding artists and galleries from all over the world, but with a strong focus on the Mexican art scene.

Latin American Art Market: An Overview

The artist Minerva Cueva at Kurimanzutto

Truth to be told, we have already introduced you to the Latin American art market when we talked about Condo’s likely upcoming venue after London: Mexico City. We can add that while the Latin American auction sales fall in 2016 with the lowest results recorded for the sector since 2006, the decline seems to level out with a rise of 5.4 percent from the first half of 2017. Also, we can well underline how Mexican and Colombian artists in particular are seen gaining more and more market shares through the first half of 2017. While Mexican artists accounted 31.8 percent of the total sales value, Colombian artists made it for the 24.4 percent.

But let’s focus on Mexican artists: in this regard Zona Maco is without a doubt an institution and definitely the perfect spot to observe the authentic Mexican aesthetic in all of its magnificence. Of course world wide known artists are on view, represented by well established galleries. But we have to notice that from kurimanzutto to Gaga Arte Contemporanea, from Galeria Curro to Galeria Enrique Guerrero and Galeria OMR: forward-thinking Mexican galleries representing Mexican artists are definitely on the list.

The Collectors Scene in Mexico

In this generally positive panorama, it comes by no surprise how the entire region has been witnessing a double phenomenon: on one hand, the strengthening of established art collectors. In fact, according to Arts Economics (2017) with data from ARTNews, Mexico hosts steadily from 1990 till now 3 out of the 200 top art collectors. On the other hand, the increasing number of new enthusiastic ones. We already talked about how Eugenio Lopez Alonso’s extensive collections of Mexican artists – Gabriel Orozco and Gabriel Kuri, for example – gathered into the David Chipperfield-designed Museo Jumex of Mexico city. But we want now to introduce you Isabel and Agustin Coppel and Lorena Junco de la Vega

Isabel and Agustin Coppel

Isabel and Agustin Coppel

As present on the ArtNews Top200 list for 4 years in a row and representative of the established group of art collectors, we would like to introduce you the president of Grupo Coppel, Agustin Coppel Luken and his wife Isabel. They started collecting back in 1990s with a selection of Mexican modern art. Then, this collection has been enriched with a notable mix between local – as Damien Ortega and Abraham Cruzvillegas – and international – Gordon Matta-Clark and Tatiana Trouvé – artists with an important emphasis on photography. It become soon one of the most remarkable Mexican contemporary art collection but with a peculiar purpose: supporting and developing a more and more sophisticated system of art projects –  exhibitions, apps, publications, audio guides and so on – to both showing the collection itself and sharing knowledge about contemporary art to as many audiences as possible.

Lorena Junco de la Vega

Lorena Junco de la Vega
Lorena Junco de la Vega

In a Country with such a delicate situation, swinging between the above mentioned socio-cultural extremes, just simply collecting art has never been enough to Lorena Junco de la Vega. It had to have a deeper meaning. It had to bring positive change. It had to be fair. Stating the evident lack of international dialogue in support of Mexican contemporary art, Lorena and her husband Eduardo Margain founded the Margain-Junco Collection in Monterrey. The purpose? To create projects fostering the Mexican art scene and contributing to its visibility and awareness on the international stage. Two the projects created: the non-commercial gallery and cultural space Distrito 14 in Monterrey and the exhibition Shaped in Mexico, which brought together works by international artists from, or inspired by, Mexico up to London few years ago.


Art & Collectors Columnist #CamillaColavolpe