joségarcía, mx | Galleries, Earthquakes, Relocations and Passion
If you’ve ever been to the FIAC, EXPO Chicago or Art Basel, you’ve certainly crossed paths with the Mexico City-based joségarcía, mx, a gallery that has been virtually everywhere in the past three years. We’ve met with José García Torres following the opening of a new space after the natural disaster that struck the country.
Did you decide to open a new space because your former one was destroyed during the earthquake? How has the natural disaster impacted local art-world players?
No, actually we were about to inaugurate the new space when the earthquake hit and, right after realizing the magnitude and the aftermath of it, we decided to cancel the opening, close the office and do as much as we could (each in our own way) to spend our time going out to help. When the most immediate situation passed, we slowly returned to our duties. Luckily we and our families were ok and the new space had only minor damages.
We have opened the new space with a show by Rometti Costales and eventually things will get back to normal in the gallery, but the earthquake definitely marked our life and this change of space feels like a new beginning in a more profound sense now.
Rometti Costales @ joségarcía mx
Could you tell us a bit about your new space?
We moved to Santa María la Ribera, a beautiful barrio in the North-East of the city; it’s a very vivid and traditional neighborhood. We were looking for a nice place to work, welcome people and meet with artists; we wanted more than a “good commercial location”. The exhibition space consists of 3 spaces: two of them are 5 x 5 meters and one is 5 by 8 meters. The exhibition space is not huge but we think it is more than enough to put up great shows without over-producing or spending beyond our possibilities. We also have three office spaces, a show room, enough storage room and a large patio where we can organize dinners and host talks. We can also use it as a dance floor if necessary.
Lately, you’ve attended quite a lot of fairs. Why is it important to have a physical space today? Quite a few people believe that a permanent space for an art gallery is no longer the most viable model.
Well… yes, the traditional gallery model is becoming obsolete, and younger or smaller-scale galleries like us are finding new ways to create engaging programs and do business; of course, not having a permanent space is one of these new ways.
On the other hand, as galleries, we have the responsibility to reinvent our programs and to experiment with new things. In my case, I have moved seven times within Mexico City already… but I'm not sure if that is because the artists and the gallery get bored after a while, or just because I'm a frustrated architect and those are my only real chances to get involved in space design projects...
We also have a space in Mérida, Yucatán. It is a gallery without a roof, so all projects have to take into consideration this aspect and the extreme weather conditions. Yucatán has a tropical climate, so as you can imagine the sun and the rain are quite present in the shows… but also beautiful blue skies and amazing sunsets that add great light to the works.
In Yucatán there is no market for art yet. However, it is a very special place, where artists love to work with a different rhythm. It is a place that is distant from the rush that is common in other places. Our space there focuses on what is often overlooked in the gallery business today, where galleries run from one fair to the other and sometimes end up missing out on the possibility of taking real time to work on a show back home. I guess that, as galleries, we also find ways to respond with passion to the context of the art fair, but for me at least, I love to do shows with artists at our space(s) and create them from scratch, working alongside the artists themselves throughout.
François Bucher @ josegarciamx in Yucatán