Olafur Eliasson, The Flower Archway, 2005.

CULIACÁN - This was my first visit to Culiacán, a city in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, Mexico. For some reason I had expected it to be a desert climate and was thrilled to feel the warm humid air on my face as we walked out of the airport.
Lulu Creel, Head of Sotheby’s Mexico, and I were taken on an evening tour of the Museo de Arte de Sinaloa by its dynamic director, Alberto Gonzalez Torres, who aims to transform the museum into a leading institution in Mexico, modeled after other world-class international museums. Indeed, the exhibition that had just been on view, “Blockbuster” presented cutting edge video art that was accompanied by a program of movie screenings that broke all attendance records. Curated by Jens Hoffman, it provided an ambitious program of videos by artists such as Tacita Dean, Yang Fudong, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Rodney Graham and Pierre Huyghe. It was inspiring to see that work of this caliber had been presented and appreciated in the far reaches of Mexico.

A flower in Culiacán.

The next morning we had the distinct pleasure of touring the Jardín Botánico de Culiacán, an absolutely glorious garden that was founded by the architect, Carlos Murillo Depraect, and includes not just a curated exhibition of over 1000 different types of plants and trees, but also outdoor sculpture and installations by many of the leading artists of today, a selection that was brilliantly curated by Patrick Charpenel.


Teresa Margolles, Untitled, 2006.

While the garden is still in development (and one expects that it will always be so) works by Dan Graham, Olafur Eliasson, Gabriel Orozco, Francis Alys, Richard Long and Pedro Reyes live organically ensconced among the foliage. One feels a bit like Alice in Wonderland, where at any given moment, one will find a treasured space or sculpture that just pops up around the corner, like Allora & Calzadilla’s Untitled, 2008, in which a woman’s bare leg carved in wood comes forth from the tree trunk.

Lulu Creel with Allora + Calzadilla’s Untitled, 2008.

An especially lovely and serene installation by Valeska Soares was one of my favorites. Though it is still being installed, a marble chaise longue rests under a gorgeous fragrant tree, in the middle of a reflective mirror of water, surrounded by a beautifully scented wall of green… a delightful experience!
A sure highlight will be a sky space by James Turrell that is promised to be completed by next fall, at which point pilgrimages to Culiacán will commence…and we will be right there with them!

Tags:Contemporary Art, Mexico City