Contemporary Art in Mexico City

When thinking about Mexico City, a place that’s known for its crime rates and smog problem, contemporary art is not something one tends to envision; however, New York Times Travel writer Julia Chaplin explains that Mexico City’s art scene is “so firmly international” in her article Art on the Edge in Mexico City.

“Mexico City’s extremes — its wealth and poverty, the tranquillity of its leafy parks and the sunburned chaos of its hectic avenues — are particularly conducive to its current edgy creativity. One can start an evening by dining at a guarded garden restaurant in the wealthy Polanco neighborhood and wind up at 3 a.m. at a seedy transvestite bar in the Centro Histórico. Mexico City’s affluent seem willing, possibly as result of the trendiness of contemporary art, to embrace street culture in a way that was probably considered too dangerous, or déclassé, 20 years ago.

At the Jumex opening party, for example, many well-heeled attendees wore pressed jeans instead of designer dresses and suits. As a result, the Centro Histórico, the stomping ground of the younger, alternative artists, is an interesting part of town to spend time in right now. (These artists used to hang out in Condesa, but now with the eruption of sidewalk cafes and trendy boutiques there, many consider it too “fresa” — Mexican slang for yuppie or bourgeois.) The Centro, on the other hand, has a feel of fallen, dilapidated grandeur. “