The Mexican Art Gallery is once again the protagonist of my article on Zona Maco and this time by the hand of one of its contemporary artists: Miguel Monroy (Mexico, 1975), who was invited by the curators of Zona Maco Sur Joao Mourao and Luis Silva, co-directors of the Kunsthalle Lissabon in Lisbon, Portugal, who focused more on a speculation of curatorial work than on specific issues; In an interview for SFAQ they mentioned: "Specifically, we are interested in the way the future is produced through imagination, but also through knowledge and action." Although Zona Maco Sur began focusing on Latin American art, over the years it opened up to not so visible areas of the contemporary art scene and today it is an interesting mix between already recognized artists such as Carlos Amorales (Kurimanzutto) or Mario García Torres (Taka Ishii), with artists who are gaining notoriety such as Deborah Delmar Corp (LTD) or Javier M. Rodriguez (Nosco).
In his work, Monroy has dedicated himself to highlighting the small incongruities of everyday life, systems and institutions. In many cases they are actions that are saved through photography, video, installations, plans or residues of the actions.
In 2005 he presented 110 receipts from bank exchanges: Equivalent, it reflected the commission and the difference in collection when changing pesos to dollars and vice versa until he ran out of his first 1,000 pesos, obviously if he did it today there would be much fewer receipts with the dollar at almost 19. In 2012 he published his compilation of Transporte Transportado, a collection of images of cars carrying cars, helicopters loading boats, with the support of Fundación / Colección Jumex that he had been working since 2007. In 2013-2014 he received the nomination of Austin's Table Critics Award for best independent project for his installation: Puesta en Abismo as a continuation of his Shadow Box project (2012) in which he showed how the projectors that broadcast the video of the installation are placed where the viewer became part of the piece through his shadow.
From these questions to the exhibition spaces, is that now his piece for Zona Maco is refreshing, direct and sarcastic: How to steal an art fair? (2015-2016) is a specific site project in which he created the "hypothetical" plan to dig a tunnel from a house relatively close to the Banamex Convention Center; identifies the closed-loop systems of the architectural space; the doors, the keys; the models of the space and the distribution of the booths of the fair; the tools that would be needed, what it would cost and the work time that this assault will require, among other aspects.
It is a work that questions the obsessions and security mechanisms and mainly their fragility in revealing how it works from the outside. Through black and white photographs, plans, models, and most significantly, colored post-its that highlight some aspects, the booth is presented as an operations center where we could organize all the elements to carry out the theft.
Interestingly, in the October 2014 program Freakonomics: Tell Me Something I Don't Know, a quiz game where participants talked about something the specialists didn't know about, Erin Thompson, professor of Law and Art-related crimes at John Jay College Criminal Justice, pointed out the inefficient security systems that some of the institutions such as museums have. And this is because the objects they have, in many cases unique and therefore very expensive, have no real outlet on the market.
If someone, as they tried in 1911, stole the Mona Lisa, it would be almost impossible to sell it, except that it was for a private collector, but even he could not show that he has it; in this regard, I highly recommend that you watch Giuseppe Tornatore's film about a somewhat illegal collector of portraits of women, played by Geoffrey Rush: The Best Offer (2013).
Although it happens as in the case of the theft of Munch's "The Scream" in Oslo in 1994 the thieves left a small note that said "Thank you for your poor security system", the reality is that the return on investment in both security circuits and personnel is still lacking the levels of professionalization already offered by the industry. a curious note was that before the dates of Zona Maco will change from April to February, just in April it coincided with the Security Fair in the same Banamex Center, so you know if you want to try to assault it …
Which brings us to the question, in a market like Mexico, who could steal a work of art from those exhibited in Zona Maco? Obviously, with the participation of large international galleries such as Lisson in London, Continua in Italy, Gladstone in New York or Mexican galleries such as Hilario Galguera or the Mexican Art Gallery itself, the reality is that although the idea of the tunnel sounds tempting, and I am not saying it only for El Chapo, it is that all the pieces require certain movement treatments that would be totally ineffective in this case. That only speaking of practical issues, in other cases as artists of Lawrence Weiner or Tercerounquinto it would be at least comical to take the panel, or in other cases where acquiring an object of this nature becomes a status-quo within society, therefore having one of the multiple pieces of Anish Kapoor presented and not being able to boast it would reduce almost to a minimum the pleasure of owning it.
So, in reality, although Monroy's piece is a step by step of a robbery, the reality is that it becomes the most open criticism of the art market system, this time at least in the Federal District, pardon the custom, of Mexico City.