Saturday, 27 March 2010
A VISIT TO MUAC (MUSEO UNIVERSITARIO DE ARTE CONTEMPORANEO) IN MEXICO CITY
A Felix Gonzalez Torres retrospective (very poetical, not very political or very sexual)
A Dan Graham mini pavilion/sculpture
a Gabriel Orozco hanging broom and hanging stuff from 2003
a sculpture from around 2002 by Thomas Glassford (an interesting artist quite unrecognized outside of Mexico)
Pablo Vargas Lugo's marble dust and pigments mandala, 2007 (another interesting artist unrecognized outside of Mexico and Peru, where he now lives)
Erick Beltran's printworks, from 2004
Mario Garcia Torres, 'Notes on the beginning of the end of video art', 2008, on artists apparitions on TV
Miguel Calderon's, 'Resistol 5000', 2003, self sustained can of sniffing glue
an early Stefan Bruggemann (Thoughts are Products and No Programme), 2002
and my favourite piece in the exhibition, Melanie Smith's 'Green Lush (Subtropicana Jungle Mix I)', from 1999
artist Melanie Smith, MUAC curator Patricia Sloane and film director Agnes Varda
I finally made it to the MUAC, the new museum of contemporary art in the National University of Mexico City which opened a bit more than a year ago. I won't comment much on the architecture, but it's quite disappointing that the building had to be designed by Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon and not by an architect of a younger generation. Born in 1926, Mr de Leon, who worked for Le Corbusier in 1947, has been the grand, official, monumental, and national architect of Mexico for at least the last four decades. He also designed the fantastic and brutalist Rufino Tamayo Museum in an abstract aztec modernist style in 1981.
With an eclectic collection of national and international art, many of it in loan from private collections (including the amazing Charpenel collection), what is interesting of MUAC is that there's finally in Mexico City a place which is not a private collection or a commercial gallery where it's possible to see contemporary art produced in Mexico since 1957 on a permanent basis. It has also hosted important exhibitions including Cildo Mireles retrospective (which was also seen at MACBA and Tate). The 'independence' of the museum, because of it being part of the University, might also become an alternative to Mexico City's other museums which are financed directly by the government's Ministry of Culture. It also has a great curatorial team, which includes Guillermo Santamarina and Patricia Sloane (pioneers of contemporary art curating in Mexico). Olivier Debroise was also part of the team, but he sadly died almost two years ago. Beyond any criticism, what might be interesting of MUAC, as french curator Corinne Diserens told me of her visit to the museum last November, is that the Museum feels alive, and this thanks to the big number of curious visitors wanting to experience the experience of contemporary art.
visit Muac's complicated to navigate website: