Artforum at Sotheby's: Normal Exceptions

27 JULY 2021 • 5:00 PM EDT • NEW YORK
In partnership with Artforum, join Director of Kunstinstituut Melly Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy in conversation with President of Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo Eugenio López Alonso, Chief Curator of Museo Jumex Kit Hammonds and Artists Mario García Torres and Melanie Smith, as they celebrate contemporary art in Mexico over the past 20 years. Starting with a discussion of ‘Normal Exceptions’, a new exhibition presented at Museo Jumex, this event will explore questions of cultural identity and the Mexican diaspora, Mexico’s influence over artists’ practice, how Museo Jumex has helped foster emerging artists in Mexico, and the reception of Mexican art by the wider world, both past and present. The talk will provide a fascinating insight into the often overlooked ‘exceptions’ of Mexican art that deserve to be placed in the spotlight.

Meet the Panel

Eugenio López Alonso, President of Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo

Eugenio López Alonso has been a pioneer in the realm of contemporary art collecting in Mexico. Over the past twenty five years, he has focused his efforts on circulating information about contemporary art practice and on fostering its development. In 2001 he formally established himself as an art promoter with the creation of the Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo, of which he is president. This not-for-profit institution receives support from Grupo Jumex, a company founded by his father, Eugenio López Rodea.

López’s philanthropic work has been recognized through his continual support of different museums in Mexico in their programming of educational activities, publications related to the visual arts, and through the grants that Fundación Jumex awards every year to curators and artists for postgraduate studies abroad. The creation of the Museo Jumex in 2013 has further established López’s influence in the international cultural landscape. This exhibition space is his legacy to Mexico.

López is currently a member of the board of trustees of other institutions in Mexico like the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, the Museo de Arte Moderno and the Patronato de Arte Contemporáneo (PAC). In the US, López is on the board of trustees of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York and of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA). It is thanks to his interest in contemporary Latin American art that the MOCA established the JUMEX FUND. He has also supported the making of exhibitions and publications at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Moore Space, Miami, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.


Kit Hammonds, Chief Curator of the Museo Jumex

Kit Hammonds (UK, 1975) is Chief Curator of the Museo Jumex, Mexico City, where he leads the artistic and public programs. His major exhibitions at the museum have included Normal Exceptions: Contemporary Art in Mexico (2021), James Turrell: Passages of Light (2019); Scripted Reality: The Life and Art of Television (2018); among others.

Before joining Museo Jumex in 2017, Hammonds lived in London and Taipei, working as an independent curator and Senior Tutor in the Curating Contemporary Art Post-Graduate program at the Royal College of Art, London. He holds a PhD in Curatorial Practice from Kingston University.


Mario García Torres, Artist

In his artistic practice, Mario García Torres has explored time, truth and history as concepts. He uses painting, video, sound and performance as means of expression. Born in Monclova, Coahuila, he currently works between Los Angeles and Mexico City. His work has been exhibited at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Wiels; Contemporary Art Center of Brussels; the Tamayo Museum in Mexico City; the ForthWorth Museum in Texas; the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; the biennials of Berlin, Sao Paulo and Venice, among other places. Currently, MARCO at Monterrey is showing a solo exhibition that explores the artist's career.


Melanie Smith, Artist

Melanie Smith was born in England in 1965. She lives and works between Mexico City and London. Her work, in diverse media, has reflected on the extended field of painting within the history of art and its entanglement with moving image. In earlier pieces she illustrates the idiosyncrasies of multitudes, chaos and aberrant forms within urbanism. The spiral is a recurring form of thought mode, working as a double helix that encompasses and constellates relationships between the city, body, archaeology, tragicomedy and nature. She is interested in the fragments that do not add up, like stories that do not have a beginning or an end, and productions behind the scenes that alude to political farse. Mostly, her work shatters any rational significance of production, as a way of thinking through contingent forms and being.

She has exhibited at numerous institutions including PS1 and MOMA, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate Modern, London; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Museo Tamayo, and MUCA Campus UNAM, Mexico City; Museo Amparo, Puebla; The Modern, Fort Worth; SITE Santa Fe Biennial, Santa Fe. In 2011 she represented Mexico at the 54th Venice Biennale. A panoramic exhibition of her work was shown at Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, in 2014, travelling to the CAC, Vilnius and the Museum Boijmans, Rotterdam. In 2018 she was included in the Liverpool Biennial. Melanie Smith: Farce and Artifice is presented at MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona in 2018, and travels to MUAC Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, UNAM, Mexico City, and Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico, 2019.


Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, Director, Kunstinstituut Melly

Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy (MX) started her tenure as Director at Kunstinstituut Melly, the institution formerly known as Witte de With, in January 2018, after being the curator of contemporary art at Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in Caracas and New York from 2011 to 2017. In 2016-2017, she was also guest curator at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York.

In 2013, Sofía was artistic director and chief curator of the 9a Bienal do Mercosul Porto Alegre in Brazil, and before that, she was an agent of dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel. In the past, Sofía has been director of Museo Tamayo in Mexico City and held curatorial positions in New York at Art in General and Americas Society.

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