Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin bring a taste of Mexico’s design scene to ProyectosLA
For Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, The Getty’s massive initiative to showcase Latin American art throughout Southern California for the next four months, the tagline has been ‘A Celebration Beyond Borders’. Running with that idea, the founders of ProyectosLA – a hybrid exhibition-art fair running in Los Angeles until 28 October – got rid of their walls.
‘We really did not want to be the typical art fair with the booths for individual galleries,’ says art advisor Teresa Iturralde, who founded ProyectosLA alongside collector Tracy O’Brien and marketer Patricia Fajer. ‘We wanted to think outside the box.’ As an alternative model, they hired two curators, Luiza Teixeira De Freitas and Claudia Segura, to take works from the 20 participating galleries that include Brazil’s Nara Roesler and Colombia’s Instituto de Vision and organise one grand, cohesive exhibition of modern and contemporary art in which artists range from Julio le Parc to Amalia Ulman.
A lightweight wall punctured with circles riffs on The Maya dot-based numerical system. Photography: Izumi Tanaka
They commissioned architects Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin to transform a 20,000 sq ft former warehouse in Chinatown into gallery and open-plan workplace. The architects kept the high ceilings and open floor, but tempered the industrial feel by ‘creating a little bit of Mexico’, according to Farca. He and Grappin subtly divided the gallery into vignettes of comfortable, distinctly Mexican design elements: colorful artisanal rugs woven in Oaxaca, a specially designed hammock, and the iconic Acapulco chair. A lightweight wall punctured with circles of various sizes, a riff on The Maya dot-based numerical system, separates the exhibition space with the long tables of a communal workspace, where gallerists can meet with potential collectors. The layout also includes individual storage spaces where gallerists can show additional work. The layout also includes individual storage spaces where gallerists can show additional work, as well as an outdoor cafe and pop-up boutique of artisanal Mexican designs in the former back parking area.
Well beyond the normal four days of an art fair, the exhibition runs for more than six weeks, shining an extended spotlight onto the region. ‘The Latin American art world is so rich, and each country is so different,’ Iturralde says. ‘The effort will hopefully bring people out of the woodwork, and big patrons and the boards of museums will pay attention.’