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03/19/14 Salón ACME

While art stands tall in Mexico City’s Colonia San Miguel Chapultepec, a cultural district burgeoning with studios and galleries, a venue like Salón ACME allows it to unwind. The space has the feel of a villa, where plants and communal seating populate a brick-walled courtyard and the afternoon sun is welcomed into rooms. Paint peels on doorframes and lighting is warm. Art is taken from its stark, stringent space and placed in a more casual setting.

“The idea for Salón ACME came from the necessity of new spaces for young artists to show their work,” says Sebastian Vizcaino, one of five directors of the Salon that include a curator, an art promoter, and three artists. After struggling to find spaces to “show your work and have a real impact,” the group allied with Archipielago, a corporation that offered funding, a communications team, and its headquarters as a location.

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Inspired by old salons where intellectuals gathered to discourse on new ideas and world affairs, the space was established to promote emerging artists, as well as encourage new collectors by offering affordable art. “It’s not meant to be a gallery nor an art fair. We came up with a concept that would benefit the artist—a space created for artists, by artists. If their work is sold, they keep all the money so they can produce more work,” says Vizcaino of participants culled from an annual open call.

Last year, over 400 artists sent proposals to exhibit at the Salón, however with limited space, only 50 could be chosen by curatorial board BASE Proyectos. “What matters most is that everyone can be part of the Salon, no matter their age, nationality, or gender, as well as all kinds of artistic media,” says Vizcaino. “We had an amazing response from artists and attendants and we are looking forward to growing this year.”

If the Salón’s walls are too constricting, they can be broken down. In April, the group will hold an auction in Guadalajara called CENTRO. The directors also plan to organize an art show at a warehouse in Brooklyn and exhibit video projections at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg.

Alfonso Zarate

Getting more eyes on Mexican art means opening the salon to new possibilities. One of these is collaborating with brands like Absolut, which presented last year’s editions of artists, setting up a festive light-strewn space at the Salón’s patio. “We’ve tried to get support from the government or other institutions but we found it easier to get brands to collaborate so we can get the funding we need,” explains Vizcaino. “We’re cool with these art projects as long as the exhibition space is left free of branding and the project speaks for itself.” Of course, by giving independent artists so necessary a platform, Salón ACME seems to have accomplished just that.

By loosening up the way people appreciate art, expect conversation about it to flourish.

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 Location: Colonia San Miguel Chapultepec, Mexico City

Neighborhood Recommendation: “In front of Salón ACME there’s Kurimanzutto Gallery. Whatever they are showing, it’s worth it to take a look. For eating there isn´t much because its a semi-residential neighborhood, but there is a little cafe with only one long table called Cafe Sena. We go there every time. It’s really good food and really cheap with a cool atmosphere. Also, Archipielago is opening Cancino Restaurant at their office space,” shares Vizcaino.

Cráter Invertido

Work by Alberto Corcuera and Eduardo Sarabia

Ivan Esqueda

Jose Luis Rojas

Gonzalo Lebrija

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