While the focus during Zona Maco in Mexico City might be on the fairs, galleries, and museums, one of the more beloved events is the annual Salón Acme showcase, which is hosted at a Chapultepec restaurant by local hospitality maven Antonio Vilches (the man behind Leonor, La Zaranda, and Café Paraiso among other hotspots). In the Salón Acme 'eatery', which is located across the street from Kurimanzutto gallery, this year’s showcase gave a platform for emerging artists without representation and under-recognised artists with galleries, selling works for $1100 and under.
'This is a totally self-sustaining operation,’ says Vilches, who notes that Mexican art stars like Jose Dávila, Mario García Torres, Gonzalo Lebrija and Stefan Brüggemann donated more expensive works (starting at $2500) to an auction held earlier to raise money for the salon. ‘All of the artists enter an open call, whether they have a gallery or not, even if they are minors or elders.’
What began four years ago with 300 entries — a description of the work and the work itself — has grown to 800 entries for this year's salon, which showcased more than 60 artists, which were judged by a council that included artists and curators from MUAC, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, and Museo Jumex.
’The cool thing is that it's the council that says yes and no and why, so it gives feedback to people which they could maybe never reach the director of the most important museum in Mexico,’ says Vilches. ‘Even if you're 15-years-old or have no money, it's very democratic.’
This year's highlights included a wall installation of sexualised drawings by Horacio Quiroz; documentary photographs of darkly humorous installations with beds and balloons by Gabriel Monroy; obsidian rocks carved with topographical lines by Paula Cortazar; collages of bordering US state flags (Arizona, Texas, and California), made from Mexican passport papers by Christian Becerra; and a contract between a linguist and an artist, Sofia Hinojoso, who agreed to never use two words for the rest of their lives.
The salon also devoted the entire upstairs gallery to artists from various states; this year the focus was Sonora in northwest Mexico. ‘The thing is not to get revenue from art,' says Vilches. ‘But to support the development of art.’