Our Inner Luchadors + CDMX
What's better than Mexico City during art fair week? Truly, nothing. Amazing weather, world-class food, friendly strangers, museums and galleries for days... To begin our international dialogue, we chose to visit our beautiful neighbor to the south which is home to an exciting art scene that is critically praised world-wide. During our trip, we were motivated by and rewarded with an underrated factor: ease. Walking to most of our destinations, finding delicious food at every corner, exchanging introductions with new colleagues and friends, making the most of our limited Spanish vocabularies: everything came so easily. The vibe and culture of Mexico City created this ease, which gave us the headspace to create the best version of DEASIL. While challenges can be motivating in their own right, there is something to be discovered in ease. Being in a place (mentally and physically) where things are moving smoothly is a highly pleasurable experience. It's nice to be in a place where things feel *right,* and it's important to find pleasure everywhere you can.
Shortly before we left to Mexico, we brainstormed on what to name this new venture of ours. We joked that it was more difficult than naming a child. When one of us opened the dictionary app on her phone to look up a word, the app's "word of the day" popped up on the screen.
We like the poetry of the word, we like its uniqueness and its wisdom. We like that it describes action, instead of a static thing. We like the modern-Dada way in which we discovered it, an affirmation of our focus on ease and serendipity. And having our base in Houston, an energy capital of the world, we don't mind that "deasil" sounds like "diesel." Everyone requires fuel. We run on DEASIL.
But back to Mexico City. We bought tickets to a Lucha Libre. There's a lot to love about this style of professional wrestling: the rapid-fire moves, the acrobatics, the family legacies, the story-telling, and of course, the costumes. First of all, many performers are surprisingly tiny, allowing them to perform aerial maneuvers and graceful tumbles back into an upright position. It's a skilled theatre, flaunting shiny chests and sparkly capes. The masks are fashioned to evoke animals or gods. There's a healthy dose of good-versus-evil built into every match, echoing classic archetypes like David & Goliath. If you're looking for it, you can glean lessons about heroism, teamwork, agility, and honor. Needless to say, we left with masks from the gift shop, and a mission to channel our inner Luchadors.
Luchadors aside, the mission of our trip was to get a grasp on what makes Mexico City's art scene special. We visited the Material Art Fair (twice) where we made friends with our new favorite gallery, Galeria Breve, and saw 3 floors worth of amazing work. We visited Proyectos Monclova, OMR, and Lulu. We went to the BEAUTIFUL Museo Jumex and the exhaustive but delightful National Museum of Anthropology.
We were most impressed, charmed, influenced, and animated by Salón ACME, an artist-run curated open house (in its sixth edition) that organizes about 60 artists based in Mexico, with works for sale usually around $1,200 USD or less. ACME launches an annual open call, then work is admitted by a curatorial council. The platform offers a guest curated section, projects by invited galleries, a book room, and discussion tables, all with the aim of promoting contemporary art and fostering links between artists, curators, and their audiences. All of this takes place on a property in Colonia Juárez, in a setting best described as a series of rooms loosely connected by corridors, courtyards, and small sets of stairs. the venue's beauty is almost distracting, with natural light flooding in and lovely aged walls. We left repeating to ourselves, "This needs to happen more. More people need to think this way."
By the way, all of that walking makes you very hungry. Mexico City will hook you up. From the most humble sandwich shops to the finest restaurants to the street carts on every corner, amazing food is never far away. A special thanks to Fonda Fina, where we ate twice because in a city full of delicious food everywhere you turn, it was that good.