The Material Art Fair will turn four next year, and its organizers are planning to do something they have never done before. “We’re going to stay in the same venue for the first time ever,” Brett W. Schultz, one of the fair’s founders, told me yesterday during a Skype call from Mexico City, where the fair is based. As it did last year, Material will set up shop in the Expo Reforma convention hall near the city center. It will run from February 9 through 12, at the same time as the stalwart Zone Maco fair.
There are, however, some major changes in store for Material. “We’re doubling the size of the fair, but we’re not doubling the number of exhibitors,” Rodrigo Feliz, the fair’s director of exhibitor relations, said, sitting next to Schultz. “We’re remaining as a boutique art fair.” Material will stretch over two floors instead of one, but its exhibitors will total only about 50, a slight decrease from the 60-odd outfits that filled the space last year.
Material’s planners are also dropping the unusual, maze-like layout of the previous edition for a more conventional fair layout. “It will be a very distinct change,” Schultz said. “We had tried out this very experimental layout, with no hallways and ceilings on the stands. I think we took that as far as we could possibly take it.” The local firm APRDELESP is once again in charge of the design, which will feature a central courtyard for socializing, a bar, and space for a performance series called Immaterial, organized by Michelangelo Miccolis.
Among the galleries on tap for 2017 are hometown powerhouse LABOR, Chicago’s Shane Campbell, San Francisco’s Et Al., and Toronto’s Cooper Cole. About 20 percent of the galleries are from Mexico, including Lulu, Lodos, and (un cuatro), and some 15 countries are represented on the list. The selection committee was made up of Laura Bartlett Gallery (London), joségarcía (Mexico City), Natalia Hug Galerie (Cologne), and Michael Jon & Alan (Miami and Detroit).
The big question, of course, is how those dealers will do at this uncertain moment, with an American president president-elect who has used bellicose language against Mexico and its people, and caused the value of the peso to slump against the dollar. Schultz did not seem worried. “There’s this attitude that, no matter what happens in the United States, Mexico always gets the shit end of the stick,” he said, “so there’s not much of an argument yet that anything is going to change from the normal situation.” In any sense, he added, “Mexico’s domestic economy is really strong right now, and it’s got its own two legs.”
AND NOW, Dallas, USA
Chez Mohamed, Paris, France
COOPER COLE, Toronto, Canada
Crèvecœur, Paris, France
Emanuel Layr, Vienna, Austria
Et Al., San Francisco, USA
Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
GRICE BENCH, Los Angeles, USA
joségarcía ,mx, Mexico City, Mexico
Laura Bartlett Gallery, London, UK
Lulu, Mexico City, Mexico
Neon Parc, Melbourne, Australia
Projet Pangée, Montreal, Canada
Sagrada Mercancia, Santiago, Chile
SKETCH, Bogota, Colombia
Springsteen, Baltimore, USA
Sultana, Paris, France
The Pit, Los Angeles, USA
Yautepec, Mexico City, Mexico
Update, January 3, 2017: The list in this post has updated with new information from Material.