NYC‘s Rockefeller Center has been no stranger to art over the years, and yet the current exhibition taking place beside its iconic skating rink—in a sprawling 8,000-square-foot subterranean space that once housed a federal post office—upends expectation. Known as Intervención/Intersección, the contemporary design exhibit is the vision of Mexico City-based MASA Galeria, a nomadic organization that pops up to present profound works by Mexican artists, designs and architects (or those who are or have been Mexico-based, like Isamu Noguchi). This is their first exhibition in NYC and it’s a thought-provoking one, as each piece converses with the others and the delightfully strange space itself.
Curated by Su Wu, and incorporating work from MASA’s founders (Brian Thoreen, Hector Esrawe and Age Salajoe of studio EWE), the multi-artist installation oscillates between monumental furniture (including one-ton Acapulco chairs from Mario Garcia Torres), mesmerizing textiles and transgressive illustration. Conceptual corners (and one cage) emphasize some of the above. From Frida Escobedo and Tania Canadani to Pedro Reyes, Alma Allen and Jose Davila, a swathe of featured artists contribute truly impressive pieces, some of which the gallery lets guests physically interact with.
“We used to have one exhibition per year in Mexico City, during art week,” Diego Argüelles, MASA’s senior gallery associate, tells us during our visit. “We are growing more and more. Last year we had one additional show in Oaxaca. This is our first exhibition outside of the country.” Argüelles says the former federal post office location adds to the conceptual value of the experience, as the show is truly an international exchange of ideas. He also underscores the depth of each piece. Whether the eye is quick to observe the texture of an item or the mind heads straight toward the traditional technique that composed it, beneath it all is an exploration of purpose and identity.
In addition to the rink-level group exhibition, MASA installed Mexican artist Pia Camil’s site-specific “Saca Tus Trapos Al Sol” artwork between Rockefeller Center’s flag poles. Composed of more than 700 articles of clothing, the large-scale installation acts as a staggering community portrait, because each garment within the work was donated by a person in Mexico City. It’s whimsical but substantive—and it’s an appropriate introduction to all the artwork tucked one floor below.
Intervención/Intersección is open to the public now through 24 June.
Pia Camil exterior image courtesy of MASA, all other images by Josh Rubin