The Lower East Side’s gallery scene has seen plenty of change as of late, with steadfast spaces like On Stellar Rays, CRG Gallery, and Envoy Enterprises all shuttering earlier this year. But the neighborhood has also seen several new galleries move in since the summer, including the first U.S. outpost for Amsterdam’s Grimm Gallery and former White Cube director Sara Kay’s eponymous gallery.
The latest addition to the quickly shifting scene is Proxyco, which will focus on emerging and mid-career artists from Latin America, with particular attention to those hailing from Mexico and Colombia. Founded by architect Enrique Norten, art adviser Laura Saenz and Alexandra Morris, the space will be run by Saenz and Morris, both formerly of Leon Tovar Gallery.
“I’m from Mexico City and Laura is from Bogota. We saw an opportunity since there are several galleries that represent contemporary Latin American artists in New York, but few that place attention on artists from our countries,” Morris told Observer. “Additionally, we’ve seen that at the moment there is a lot of artistic dialogue between Mexico and Colombia.”
Opening November 16 at 168 Suffolk Street, Proxyco’s maiden exhibition is curated by Daniel Garza Usabiaga, the artistic director of Mexico City’s Zona Maco art fair—currently the most significant contemporary art fair in Latin America, surpassing only ARTBO in Bogota. Entitled Talon Rouge, the exhibition will explore the legacy of modernist Mexican poet and art critic José Juan Tablada, who intermittently spent time in New York between 1914 and 1935.
According to Usabiaga, the exhibition moves beyond a reductive survey of art produced within a specific geographic region by including six contemporary artists working in Mexico—including Verónica Gerber Bicecci, Javier, Hinojosa, Ivan Krassoievitch, Edgar Orlaineta, Marco Rountree, and Fabiola Torres-Alzaga—locating them within a complex framework of historical and transnational dialogues.
“For several years, there has been a concerted effort by scholars, curators, and artists to really think about the classification of ‘Latin American Art.’ What does it mean today?” Usabiaga explained. “There are many reasons why it’s problematic, but one in particular that we’re interested in is how it overlooks critical transnational dialogues that take place today and that took place decades, and even centuries, before the term ‘globalization’ became part of our everyday vernacular.”
The contemporary works—all created especially for Talon Rouge—are paired with celebrated Mexican modernists such as José Clemente Orozco, Miguel Covarrubias, and Marius de Zayas, whose careers Tablada promoted in New York during the early 20th century.
“Ultimately, we hope to provide a global platform for Latin American artists and to advance the critical role they have played in international art movements, past and present,” said Morris. “For us, the term ‘Latin American’ is not an essentializing classifier, but rather a fluid geographical framework to engage with artworks that are influenced by both a distinct cultural heritage and an ever-widening global perspective.”
Margaret Carrigan is a freelance writer and editor. She planned to go to law school but she did terribly on the LSAT, so she got a master’s in art history instead. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat, who is named after Alyssa Milano’s character from the early aughts CW smash hit series Charmed.