Contemporary Art in Mexico City

Study Abroad Students sitting in Mexico City and chatting with one another

January 3-18, 2020
*Note: Dates subject to change

What does contemporary art look like in one of the two largest cities in the Americas? Over the past thirty years, Mexico City has become one of the global centers of artistic production, and this two-week intensive study trip course will map its networks at the start of a new decade. Team-taught by critic/art historian Daniel Quiles and artist Mev Luna, the class will visit artists' studios, project spaces, arthouse cinemas, residencies, commercial galleries, and world-class museums, providing numerous “behind-the-scenes” opportunities with artists, filmmakers, collectors, curators, and dealers. Chief among our questions will be how Mexico City's unique urbanism-- given that it is a city literally built on an indigenous one, Tenochtitlán-- has conditioned the organization of art spaces and initiatives in the years since the devastating earthquake of 1985. Open to English-speaking students, this course will provide a comprehensive introduction to contemporary art in "CDMX," attending to its many differences and similarities to its counterparts elsewhere in the Americas. This course will constitute elite training for serious artists and scholars eager for cosmopolitan careers and knowledge, as well as participate in a global discourse around artistic production and artistic communities. 

Replete with the art and architecture of pre-colonial, colonial and modern Mexico, CDMX is such a rich context that it could be said everyone should visit at some point in time. Our visit will bear no resemblance to a touristic itinerary, however. Our focus will be on rigorous intellectual production by artists, art professionals and filmmakers, using as a headquarters for meetings and discussions the internationally recognized residency SOMA, located in the San Pedro de los Piños neighborhood. Founded by a group of artists including Yoshua Okón, SOMA is one of a number of prestigious alternative institutions networking the local scene to the international context. The group will take a day trip to Cuadra San Cristobal, designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect and engineer Luis Barragán. The canonical first-wave feminist artist Mónica Mayer will host us to discuss the transnational stakes of her work past and present. We will also meet with organs of criticism and publicity that are essential to the rise of Mexico City's unique contemporary art scene, among them representatives of Material Art Fair and Terremoto magazine, which styles itself as a "communication platform" focusing on a "South" region spanning from the border states in the U.S. to the Caribbean and Central / South America. We will of course also tour and meet with curators at premier contemporary art institutions such as Museo Jumex, Museo Experimental El Eco, Museo Tamayo and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. 

Credits: 3 credits STUDIO and/or 3 credits ARTHI (4000-level) 

Daniel Quiles, Art History, Theory and Criticism
Mev Luna, Film, Video, New Media, & Animation

Program fee: Approx. $1,800 (including transport during the program, accommodation and some meals; not including airfare).

PLUS Tuition cost per credit:
Undergraduate—$1,666 per credit hour;
Graduate—$1,730 per credit hour.

Airfare: Budget at least $450 for airfare if flying from Chicago. (Note this is only an estimated figure. Actual fare will depend on many variables including airline, number of stopovers, exchange rate fluctuations, ports of departure and return, and date of ticket purchase).

Online registration begins: October 9, 2019

Deposit due at registration: $525

Information sessions:
Tuesday, September 17,  4:15-5:15 p.m., MacLean room 112
Monday, September 23,  4:15-5:15 p.m., MacLean room 111