In the 1990s, a complexity of factors in Mexico’s capital converged to create alternate currents and subcultures that formed legitimate art scenes in dialogue with the official arts apparatus. Roberto Tejada will explore patterns so mobilized between certain art practices and the public culture of Mexico as to comprise the founding of artist-run spaces (La Quiñonera, Temístocles 44, and La Panadería), casual venues for critical debate (Mel’s Café), and the independent art-critic collective Curare. A self-imagined center, Mexico City saw its sphere of influence over a perceived periphery altogether reframed during these intensive years, giving way to the rise of an avid art market in the city of Monterrey, even as another hub, Guadalajara, became the focal point for an important art fair and critical theory conference (FITAC). Mexico City artists and curators began to establish new links with the border region of Tijuana-San Diego, and in the city of Los Angeles, while Chicanos and Latinas extended their artistic practice into Mexico’s capital. Mexico City Specific is a book of interrelated essays with both little histories and larger claims about this significant art-historical period.
Roberto Tejada’s books, National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment, and an extended monograph on artist Celia Alvarez Muñoz, are issued this year from the University of Minnesota Press. He has authored essays in Luis Gispert: Loud Image (University Press of New England, 2004), and Mexico / New York: Photographs by Alvarez Bravo, Cartier-Bresson, and Walker Evans (DAP, 2003); collections of his poetry include Mirrors for Gold and Exposition Park (forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press). He received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Award in 2007. Tejada is an associate professor at the University of Texas in Austin. He received a PhD in English from the University at Buffalo (The State University of New York) in 2004.