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Salón ACME

Ana Castella Centers Latin American Emerging Art for Salón ACME 2024

Ana Castella brings an unprecedented spirit of internationalism to Salón ACME for its eleventh edition, commencing this week.

Olivia Ferrucci

9 February 2024

Salón ACME isn’t like other art fairs, and Ana Castella isn’t like other curators. Rather than center on renowned galleries and the already-established artists they represent, the Salón exclusively platforms artists who have yet to receive institutional backing. It is quite fitting, then, that the fair has brought in a new Director who doesn’t care to solely cater to the financial rigamarole of the art market. Ana Castella simply wants to champion emerging artists—and further solidify Mexico City’s position as the mecca of the Latin-American art world.

In honor of Salón ACME’s eleventh edition commencing this week, we spoke to Castella about her experience curating art fairs across Latin America, the importance of international collaboration between galleries, and the most gratifying aspects of working with emerging artists.

Ana Castella

Ana Castella. Photo by Yvonne Venegas.

Salón ACME Centers the Artist, Instead of the Gallery

WHITEWALL: You’ve collaborated with other Latin American fairs in the past, like arteBA in Buenos Aires and ArtBO in Bogotá. How did those experiences inform your approach to curating Salón ACME?

ANA CASTELLA: It’s mainly about building relationships and getting to know the art scenes of these regions. Latin America is quite vast. Argentina has a very particular art scene, and that’s also the case with Bogotá. Having this link with those art fairs has created an opportunity to get to know the galleries and artists better, and thankfully I’ve managed to keep those relationships and conversations going.

For me, it’s very important for Mexico to platform the work of Latin American artists. Otherwise, it’s difficult for them to get exposure, because of where they are geographically—particularly with Argentina. For me, it’s about caring for those cultural workers. My approach favors and celebrates those destinations.

Salón ACME

Courtesy of Salón ACME. Photography by Alum Vázquez.

“For me, it’s very important for Mexico to platform the work of Latin American artists,” — Ana Castella

WW: You were the guest curator of Salón ACME’s Projects section for the last two editions. What has it been like to move into this larger role of Director?

AC: It’s been quite an honor to have been invited to direct the whole Salón. There’s a certain familiarity with the whole project, but it’s also a challenge—a very humbling challenge—to get to know the inner workings of the whole open call. It’s a lot of work. We received 1,800 applications, which we reviewed to make a shortlist and pass on to our curatorial board. 

I think my approach in this first year was to get to know the project, respect the vision of its founders, and try to focus on the weak spots. It’s been a very exciting opportunity for me, because it’s a project that I really believe in. I’m very passionate about championing emergent artists and letting curators have a very democratic perspective—our curatorial board changes every year.

Salón ACME

Courtesy of Salón ACME. Photography by Alum Vázquez.

WW: This year’s edition features guests from an array of internationally renowned institutions such as the Pompidou Center, the Palais de Tokyo, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Bordeaux, and more. What are some highlights we should be sure to visit?

AC: That’s actually one of the main areas that I wanted to push with Salón ACME as the Director. I wanted to start having alliances and collaborations, particularly with Material Art Fair, who are our neighbors and colleagues and also friends. We understand that in order to move into the future, we have to start collaborating and sharing our resources and expertise. That’s how the International Visitors Program came about. Salón ACME and Material are inviting eight curators from Europe, with a long-term vision of how to give these curators more access to the Mexico City art scene. It can be daunting, the amount of things happening during Art Week.

What we really love is to keep people coming back. We want people to really understand that Salón ACME is not your usual art fair. It isn’t centered around the galleries, but rather the open call. We want people to really enjoy it, to spend some time and share art in this very particular space, Proyectos Públicos. The art is in dialogue with this stunning architecture. I would say that’s the highlight. Also our Bodega section, curated by the duo guadalajara 90210.

Salón ACME

Courtesy of Salón ACME. Photography by Alum Vázquez.

“It’s kind of a Biennale sort of magnitude,” Ana Castella

WW: What’s special about this fair is that it is by and for artists, specifically looking to give visibility to creators who are just starting out. What’s been the most gratifying part of working with emerging artists this year?

AC: To be surprised. To feel like you’re discovering something new. To be the platform where an artist has one of their first shows. There are artists that are now with well-established galleries who started out at Salón ACME, so that’s always exciting. It’s also exciting to see the open call, because you’re tapping into a wealth of information and ideas and concerns of a generation of artists.

It’s kind of a Biennale sort of magnitude. It’s exciting to work with artists that are humble, curious, and unafraid to work, to install their own works. It’s also nice to see art that is not only about the market. That’s also quite enriching. It’s not only artists—it’s young curators that we work with, and emerging collectors. We want to make art accessible, enjoyable, fun, and entertaining.

Salón ACME

Courtesy of Salón ACME. Photography by Alum Vázquez.

SAME AS TODAY

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Salón ACME No. 11 is a Fountain of Emerging Creativity in Mexico City

On February 8, Salón ACME, founded by Archipiélago and Base Proyectos, debuts its 11th edition at Proyectos Públicos through February 11.

Material Art Fair Celebrates 10 Years in Mexico City

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The 20th Anniversary of ZsONAMACO Sets Mexico City Aglow

On February 7,  ZsONAMACO, the preeminent art fair of Latin America, celebrates its 20th anniversary through February 11 in Centro Citibanamex.

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While ZsONA MACO may be over, these must-see exhibitions at OMR, MASA and more in Mexico City are still on view.
Whitewall caught up with Sara Fitzmaurice, Founder and CEO of FITZ & CO, to reflect on the Best of Mexico City Art Week.
On February 7,  ZsONAMACO, the preeminent art fair of Latin America, celebrates its 20th anniversary through February 11 in Centro Citibanamex.

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