Aleksandra Mir

Reservoir Dogs for the Historic Center

Arte al dia, Mexico City, #13, June 2004
By Magali Sagarra

Organized Movement
1 May - 30 June 2004
part of
May - August 2004
Perros Negros, Izazaga #8, col. Centro, Mexico D.F. - Mexico

It would seem that contemporary art is shouting for a public beyond the art guilds, a public it seems impossible to reach. The same visions, the same words the diverse postures that are, alas, usually the same have marginalized art to appreciation by the few. In a project they call Localismos, Black Dogs, a group made up of Adriana Lara, Agustina Ferreya and Fernando Mesta, attempts to humanize art and make it more accessible and approachable to a wider public. Through this project, Black Dogs began its consolidation a little over a year ago.

Localismos is a very ambitious project from which many delicious benefits for both artists and public can be obtained, especially in the realm of Mexican artistic culture. In addition to seeking the interaction of contemporary art with the diverse and elemental public that daily trample the streets of the Historic Center, Localismos also pretends to create the foundations for a platform on which Mexican and foreign artists can share their work through the results of this encounter.

Taking advantage of the renovation process of the Historic Center, Black Dogs, boldly seizes the opportunity to enter into a dialogue with the Historic Center by way artists' living experiences in downtown Mexico City. From the first of the month of May, twenty-five artists from all over the world moved to downtown Mexico City where they immersed themselves day and night in the local social context: they had one month to take ownership. This first stage of the project, called Studio/Residencies, is enriched with complementary activities, including conferences, round tables and concerts. Localismosbrings an international, cosmopolitan vision to the single locality, unfolding into many localities. One space, one event, one story and one reality are seen from many points of view, which collaborate through their subjectivity in rescuing the essence of the Historical Center.

The artists were selected on the basis of the following criteria: On one hand the curators sought artists who were working on context analysis involving field work and close contact with localities during the various stages of research. Similarly, the artist had to be working in a fresh, interactive modality, something approachable by a wide public. Media such as print work, installation, video, photography, architecture, music and performance are represented in the Localismos collective show.

Each one of the artists is provided with a budget and must create his or her work using the materials that can be acquired in the Historic Center. In this way, the locality is intimately represented in the realization of the work, even in the purchase of the materials.

A global unit made up of many localismos is proposed by these artists, whose outstanding names include Aleksandra Mir of Sweden, the French collective artist Andrea Crews, Erick Beltran of Mexico, Asier Perez of Spain, the collective 24/7 of México and Colombia, Miguel Calderon of México, Carolina Caicedo of Colombia, Mara Verna of Canada, Anton Vidokle of Russia, Philippe Hernandez of France, Santiago Reyes of Ecuador, Tatsuo Inagaki of Japan, Tercerunquinto of Mexico, Xavier Andrade of Ecuador, Diego Berruecos of Mexico, Nuevos Ricos de Mexico and Sonido Lasser Drakar of Mexico.

Each of these artists focused on a discreet, telling element of the Historic Center to serve as a touchstone for the time and place. Every detail suggests something local, site specific. Among many interesting projects, there is one that conquered piracy by beating its prices: these discs are free. Another artist proposed popsicles with the flavors of downtown; still another would set up clandestine laboratories to manufacture loaded dice. A collection of flyers dating back twelve years, a "pro" wrestling exposition, concrete maps of street vendor locations, life stories in photo montages and other works provide evidence of success for Black Dogs' Localismos proposal.

The inauguration of Localismos will be June 6. Many might think that it is tiresome to go downtown on a Sunday, but Black Dogs chose the date consciously, inviting the public out for a Sunday stroll sans the formality of a museum. All are invited to wander streets downtown, shoulder to shoulder with the countless locals and tourists who are out and about in the environs of the Historic Center. Each piece is set up along a route, so don't expect find Localismos anywhere. The recommended point of departure is Isabel la Catolica # 70 where you will be provided a map with the route to follow.

Black Dogs not only honors the American Football champions of the State of Mexico, they also use the name to suggest an open door to all the new, coming talents, the "black sheep" and the not so black, both artist and public, who come together under the roof that is art.

Despite the fact that I cannot help being reminded of the ABCDF exposition, with regard to making the local evident, I believe Localismos is a well conceived project with a solid proposal and clear objectives. Bravo for Black Dogs and the rescue of the Historic Center of Mexico City.