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Stefan Kobel's art fairs at the beginning of the year will be joined at the end of the week by the Gstaad Art Salon, followed by Art Bregenz and Art Karlsruhe. In Gstaad, just 20 galleries have been invited to the tent, and not the least important ones. They will be showing what they are capable of in the beautiful Swiss Alps. These include "Galerie nächst St. Stephan", Perrotin, Mennour, Larkin Erdman, Galerie Continua, Societé and White Cube. It is not possible to find out who selected them on the event's homepage - different countries, different requirements for commercial websites. There is no responsible person in the sense of anything to be found on the site. Only the two sponsors - a watch brand and an auction house. And then Kurimanzutto from Mexico takes part. Approximately 12 hours by plane to the west, you land in Mexico City at an altitude of 2,200 metres in a city with a population of 22.5 million, which is as many inhabitants as Switzerland, Austria, Malta, Luxembourg and Berlin put together. You read a lot about the country and the city and if you read the safety warnings from the German government about Mexico, you shouldn't even go there. But then you do, when the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (which, interestingly, they themselves translate as Climate Action and not protection) invites you on a market exploration trip for the creative industries and you come back safe and sound and full of positive impressions. You hear just as little about the war in Ukraine and the war against Hamas as you do about the wild tirades of an old, presumably criminal man who is preparing to seize power in the United States of America because the majority of the population living there is too stupid to realise that he is only interested in himself and his neuroses and not in the country.
Back to Mexico City: of course the traffic is exhausting and progress is slow. You don't really see any electric cars, but you do see old VW Beetles and Bullis that wear their dents like badges of honour. Galleries such as Kurimanzutto, OMR and Nordenhake have fascinating spaces, others such as Le Laboratoire are in remodelled buildings that would never get planning permission in Germany because the parapets are rather low. Someone could fall off. Personal responsibility counts and there is obviously no excessive state regulation to protect citizens from themselves. Of course there is corruption, of course you see an enormous amount of police of various categories on the streets, but nobody really intervened during the week that we were able to observe. Johann König's Dependence at Corina Krawinkel also has a charming roof terrace, which can be reached via a staircase that is not authorised by German standards. But if you don't take them, the sculptures and the view up there remain hidden. Contrary to the opinion of Artnet, who rarely want to alienate their customers, the 20th edition of ZonaMaco was rather tedious because it frayed at the edges with design and antiques. Only Pace was there from the major galleries, Bode, Nordenhake, Ruttkowski68 and Zilbermann from Germany. There were also purchases. But the fair would look better if it only had the classical and contemporary sections. Pablo Goebel had a wonderful work by Diego Ribera on the booth, the preparatory work for a mural in the Rockefeller Centre, which was destroyed by the noble capitalist because of Lenin in the picture. The design is still available for USD 1 million. However, the more experimental items were on display at the "Feria Material" fair, which took place at the same time for the 10th time, and that's where the braver collectors were. Both fairs managed without the usual champagne clinking. - Soothing.
The public museums in Mexico City are doing just as badly as the German ones: politics is keeping them tight and budgets low. However, after elections, the heads of certain museums (whether male or female) are replaced. It almost feels like you're in Italy. The private museums have plenty of what the public ones lack. First and foremost the Jumex, which can present its collection and temporary exhibitions in perfect conditions in an art centre built by David Chipperfield. It's a bit like Louis Vuitton in Paris, only more restrained and admission is free because they want to keep the thresholds low.
I wish everyone a creative and successful week with positive impressions in Europe too!
Stephan Zilkens and the team at Zilkens Fine Art Insurance Broker GmbH in Solothurn and Cologne