Like all companies, the art galleries in Mexico City were forced to adapt and innovate due to COVID-19, which led to the formation of House of Versailles, a collaborative show between ten local galleries. The first iteration in December 2020 took place in a 20th-century villa in Colonia Juárez and was a huge success. Next week, the project returns to its second edition in the same space, where you will find the works of contemporary artists occupying the historic spaces of this former home.
Both the first and second iterations of Casa Versalles were determined at the time these galleries in Mexico City would normally be at Art Basel art fairs, providing a local creative outlet while international travel was limited. “The idea was to gather galleries to support each other and bring a new experience to the local collectors and communities,” says Karen-Sofie Kvamme, sales at kurimanzutto. Casa Versalles helped reactivate the market and also provided a meeting place for the local art scene after months of social distance and interacting exclusively online.
The project is a testament to Mexico City’s spirit of cooperation and includes galleries such as kurimanzutto, CURRO, Galería Agustina Ferreyra, Galerie Nordenhake, Gaga, Labor, OMR, Pequod Co., PROYECTOS MONCLOVA and Travesía Cuatro. “The exhibition at Casa Versalles is proof that the galleries in Mexico City see themselves as a unit,” said Isabella Aballí, Sales Director at Monclova projects. “The success of one gallery is the success of another, and that ecosystem is crucial to the city’s thriving art landscape.”
In addition to elevating the commercial side of the Mexican art landscape, Casa Versalles also benefits the institutional arm. As in its first iteration, Casa Versalles will donate ten percent of sales to two domestic institutions: MARCO (Museum of Contemporary Art of Monterrey) and MAZ (Zapopan Art Museum). Previously, Casa Versalles supported the Museo Tamayo and the Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil in 2020. “Museum budgets have been cut enormously over the last two years, and all the participating galleries felt it was imperative to address this,” says Kvamme.
After a time filled with uncertainty, artists like Jerome Elespe also looks forward to showcasing their work in the unique setting that Casa Versalles provides. “It is a very focused selection of participants in a unique and very interesting paradox: to host a small group of some of the best galleries in Mexico with very international programs and positions, but to present the works to an irrevocable local audience due to the still ongoing travel restrictions, ”says Elespe. Casa Versalles brings a sense of optimism to Mexico City’s art landscape and in a world of massive art fairs, allows people to connect on a smaller level.
This is especially true when a personal event is not only the standard procedure, but marks light at the end of the tunnel after a worldwide pandemic. “There have been a lot of changes, and we have adapted to being present in the digital world and after months of being present exclusively online,” says Kvamme. “It’s a breath of fresh air to be part of the Casa Versalles initiative.”
Casa Versalles 2021 takes place from June 16 to 20, 2021 at Versalles 113 in Mexico City. The opening hours are from kl. 12-20. The event is by invitation only.