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A Whirlwind Tour Through Mexico City’s Rich Arts Scene

Renata Petersen wears a Loewe top and skirt. Bottega Veneta earrings. Beside her architect Frida Escobedo wears a Bottega Veneta jacket,top, skirt, and belt. Photographed by Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, Vogue, November 2023

A place that greats like Frida Kahlo, Leonora Carrington, Lola Álvarez Bravo, and Luis Barragán all called home, Mexico City has rarely lacked creative luster. Every year in February, the metropolis overflows with arts and architecture lovers during Zona Maco and Feria Material, two notable contemporary art fairs that feature galleries and exhibitors from all over the world. Yet there is no shortage of galleries year-round promoting established and up-and-coming talent, artists and designers creating fascinating work and leading cultural initiatives, and gifted architects enhancing the city’s private and public spaces—and making a name for themselves in the process.

Spread across CDMX in vibrant colonias such as Roma, Polanco, San Miguel Chapultepec, and Juárez, below are just some of the galleries and architecture studios thriving in the Mexican capital—and beyond.

OMR

Works by Ana Montiel at OMR Photo: Ramiro Chaves

Housed in a sleek industrial building at the heart of Mexico City’s chic Roma neighborhood, OMR was founded by locals Patricia Ortiz Monasterio and Jaime Riestra in 1983. Forty years later, they’ve gained recognition for representing various emerging and admired creatives, including celebrated Mexican artist Pia Camil and renowned Spanish artist Ana Montiel.

Kurimanzutto

Bárbara Sánchez-Kane Photo: Gerogianna Chiang

Imagined as a place for criticism and research, Kurimanzutto was founded as a nomadic art gallery in the late 1990s by Mónica Manzutto, José Kuri, and Gabriel Orozco. In 2008, the group opened their current gallery space in Colonia San Miguel Chapultepec, designed by acclaimed Mexican architect Alberto Kalach. Favoring cutting-edge projects and rare visual languages, Kurimanzutto represents artists like Barbara Sánchez Kane, Damian Ortega, and Oscar Murillo.

Galería Agustina Ferreyra

Dalton Gata, Muro del placer, 2023. Acrylic on linen Courtesy of Galería Agustina Ferreyra
Dalton Gata, Muro del placer, 2023. Acrylic on linen Courtesy of Galería Agustina Ferreyra

Buenos Aires–born gallerist Agustina Ferreyra first opened her eponymous gallery in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2013. Now located in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood, the gallery places a special focus on emerging Latin American talent, representing rapidly rising creatives such as Puerto Rican artist Dalton Gata, Argentinian artist Ramiro Chaves, and Mexican artist Paloma Contreras Lomas.

Proyectos Monclova

Yoshua Okón, Miasma, 2017. Polyptych of 9 lithographs Photo: Courtesy of Proyectos Monclova
Yoshua Okón, Miasma, 2017. Polyptych of 9 lithographs Photo: Courtesy of Proyectos Monclova

Established in 2005, under the direction of Teófilo Cohen, Proyectos Monclova represents the estate of iconic Mexican artist Helen Escobedo, as well as local artists like Nestor Jiménez and Yoshua Okón. The gallery’s exhibition space lives within a gorgeous blue building at the center of CDMX’s stylish Polanco neighborhood.

AGO Projects

Works by Alma Allen at AGO Projects Photo: Eric Petschek

Cofounded by Rudy F. Weissenberg and Rodman Primack, AGO Projects supports artists using design to elevate social and environmental consciousness. With an exhibition space in New York and another in CDMX’s Colonia Juárez, they represent distinguished creatives such as London-based Mexican designer Fernando Laposse and award-winning Mexican designer Fabien Capello.

JO-HS

Photo: Sergio Alejandro López Jimenez
Photo: Sergio Alejandro López Jimenez

A newcomer to the gallery scene in Mexico City, Danish gallerist Elizabeth Johs founded JO-HS in 2020. Based in a gorgeous, light-filled building from the 1970s—carefully renovated by Johs herself—the gallery represents a small but significant group of artists, including locals Rodrigo Echeverría and Melissa Ríos. Earlier this year, JO-HS opened a second location in New York City.

Pequod Co.

Elsa-Louise Manceaux, Alga Estrella, 2019. Acrylic gouache and ink on colored gessoed linen Photo: Courtesy of Pequod Co.
Elsa-Louise Manceaux, Alga Estrella, 2019. Acrylic gouache and ink on colored gessoed linen Photo: Courtesy of Pequod Co.

Founded in 2020, Pequod Co. is another up-and-coming gallery based in CDMX’s Colonia Juárez. At the moment, it represents a group of 11 exciting emerging artists, including Mexico City–born Joaquín Segura and Cristobal García, Guadalajara-born Renata Petersen, and a number of international expats like French artist Elsa-Louise Manceaux and Ecuadorian artist Ana Navas.

Frida Escobedo Estudio

The Frida Escobedo–designed Niddo Café. Photo: Rafael Gamo
The Frida Escobedo–designed Niddo Café. Photo: Rafael Gamo

Recently selected to design a new modern and contemporary art wing for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Frida Escobedo has made many headlines lately. The lauded Mexican architect, who founded her eponymous studio in 2006, has completed a wide range of major projects around the world, including designing London’s Serpentine Pavilion in 2018. In CDMX, her studio took on the Librería Octavio Paz, the Librería Jumex, the space for Galerie Nordenhake Mexico in Roma Norte, and more recently, the chic coffee spot Niddo Café in Colonia Juárez.

Taller de Arquitectura X (TAX)

Arguably the most renowned architect in Mexico City, Alberto Kalach continues to make waves with his team at Taller de Arquitectura X (TAX). Led by himself and Adriana León, the studio has been around since 1981 and has designed iconic CDMX spaces like the Jardín Barragan. Among their latest projects is Casa Wabi Sabino, which houses the studio of Mexican artist Bosco Sodi and two exhibition spaces for his foundation, Casa Wabi.

Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura

Common Unity Photo: Sandra Pereznieto
Common Unity Photo: Sandra Pereznieto

A rising talent in Mexico City’s architecture scene, Rozana Montiel has won numerous accolades, including the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture in 2019 and the International Prize for Women Architects in 2022. In CDMX, Montiel’s studio has completed important projects focused on improving public spaces. These include Pilares, a social impact initiative within the densely populated Colonia Presidentes de México, and Common Unity, an urban renovation project in Azcapotzalco.

Vertebral

Photo: Courtesy of Vertebral
Photo: Courtesy of Vertebral

Founded in 2016 by young architects Elias Kalach and Teddy Nanes, Vertebral is a firm that spans both architecture and landscaping—in their words, they see bushes, herbs, and trees as construction materials too. They’ve completed residential projects with lush façades in CDMX, as well as projects in other iconic places across the country, such as Puerto Escondido and Tulum.

This article was originally published on Vogue.com

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