As Zona Maco, the esteemed art fair, celebrates its twentieth anniversary, it has announced a dramatic increase in its prize offerings, including a grand prize of $100,000. The grand prize will be split between the winning artist and the gallery that represents them. This announcement was made at a press conference led by Zélika García, who is the director of the fair platform. The fair began last Wednesday and will run until Sunday, taking place at the Citibanamex Center.
The introduction of the grand prize is an initiative of the Erarta Foundation, based in Vienna, Austria. According to Dashia Varvarina, the director of the institution, this is the largest art prize that Zona Maco has ever awarded. The winning artwork will be chosen by public vote, with voting taking place online. The shortlist of 20 finalists for the grand prize was announced on the first day of the fair.
In addition to the main art fair, there is a section of the event dedicated to design. In this segment, a new award, the Comex Award, was created through the Emergent platform. This award is intended to recognize and promote emerging designers. The insurance company AXA has also established an award. These new awards join the existing Tequila 800 acquisition award, which has been in place for 15 years, and the Casa Wabi Foundation’s residency award for female artists.
Zona Maco has also introduced a new program called Formas. This program consists of large-scale projects, installations, or site-specific artworks that are displayed in the hallways and intersections of the fair. This was announced by Direlia Lazo, the artistic director. Zona Maco itself consists of four separate art fairs: Mexico Contemporary Art, Design, Salon (antiques), and Photo.
The Mexico Contemporary Art fair has a new curator this year, Bernardo Mosqueira. Mosqueira has explained that his section, titled Ejes, is intended to “explore the intersection between pleasure and politics”. This theme was chosen in response to “the experience of a stressful pandemic and the current panorama of brutal wars on a global scale”. Mosqueira believes that “pleasure can perhaps be a path to healing”.
The theme of the Ejes section relates to concepts such as “care, love, leisure, intimacy, sexuality, sensuality, and creativity”. Galleries participating in the fair were asked to include works by one to three artists who explore these topics in their works.
Luiza Teixeira de Freitas, the curator of the Zona Maco Sur section of the Mexico Contemporary Art fair, has said that her section complements Mosqueira’s. The theme of her section is focused on ideas of generosity and attention to others. She aims to explore how “art can intersect with the idea of care, in the sense of inspiring attention, promoting well-being, creating awareness within each other. The objective is to think of a more compassionate society”.
Finally, Esteban King, the curator of the Modern Art section, has explained that this section is intended to showcase historical works by artists from around the world, especially from the first half of the 20th century. His aim is to explore “how they challenge the work that is currently being produced”.