José Luis Arroyo-Robles at Aberrante
In his contribution to this four-person booth, also in the Proyectos section, Aberrante cofounder José Luis Arroyo-Robles traces the transformation of the tree. Inset within wood boxes are raw wood, short ticks, pencils and rulers, decorative objects, and finally its imitation a plastic chair. Layered on each are minimal paintings (in blue and green) of the wood at each stage, as well as found silver gelatin photographs of a canal being built in order to transport wood. The cutting down of trees is significant in the state of Michoacán, where Aberrante was founded. Michoacán is the largest producer of avocados, and much of its arable land has been cleared to expand the avocado industry, leading to the destruction of habitats of the monarch butterfly.
Romeo Gómez López at Salón Silicón
Romeo Gómez López is in top form here, showing with Salón Silicón, which is quickly becoming one of Mexico City’s most beloved enterprises. At the center of the gallery is a trapezoid-shaped wooden sculpture, onto which Gómez López has painted four versions of the actor Zac Efron, shirtless and in orange hot pants as he readjusts his crotch. The work is also Efron’s exact height of 5’8”. To its right is an animatronic sculpture, protruding from the wall, of a limp wrist—a reference to a popular meme about gay men—holding an iced coffee. To its left is a sculpture of six legs of soccer players.
While the first two works are playful, the latter piece has a more sinister underpinning. According to curator Olga Rodríguez Montemayor, soccer is one of the most patriarchal structures in Mexico, with the matches counting among the most dangerous ones for women in Mexico. Whether a given team wins or loses, the incidents of domestic violence against women and rape are dramatically higher on the days of games.
Adriana Lara and Newton at Lodos
One of the most talked-about gallery shows this week is Newton’s solo at Lodos, the artist’s first in 20 years. For its booth at Material, Lodos has paired a historical work, a sculpture from 1987, with a 2007 video work by Adriana Lara. In the video, shown on a TV leaned against the plinth that hold Newton’s sculpture, we see a woman laughing so maniacally that she brings herself to tears. It’s infectious. The mysterious performer is none other than Rosa Gurrola, who shows her art under the nom-de-plume Newton.
Tania Ximena at Llano
A stunning, abstracted landscape at the fair comes courtesy Tania Ximena. This diptych features beautifully arranged beans and maiz (corn) of different varieties and colors. All of them come from the areas near volcanoes, including the two closest to Mexico City (Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl). Ximena works closely with the Indigenous communities who have grown these staples since pre-Hispanic times and who have preserved sacred rituals related to their harvest. Much like colonization, climate change represents yet another real threat to these communities and their ability to sustain themselves with the food that has been key to their survival for generations.
Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya at Murmurs
For the booth of LA-based gallery Murmurs, Mexico City–based artist Ruben Ulises Rodriguez Montoya presents a suite of beguiling sculptures that mix elements seen widely throughout the city: bristles from brooms (sweeping the entryways to one’s home or business is almost a ritualistic practice in CDMX); the ultra-masculine sombrero, which Rodriguez Montoya has queered by adding sequins; and leather. These are all mixed into distorted creatures meant to represent naguales, shapeshifters associated with Mesoamerican religions. Their disfigured shapes also recall Rodriguez’s own personal history. He grew up in Sunland Park, New Mexico, not far El Paso and adjacent to the Camino Real Landfill, known for toxic waste and lethal fumes.
Read more: https://www.artnews.com/list/art-news/market/material-art-fair-2024-best-booths-1234695743/gonzalo-hernandez-at-vigil-gonzalez/