A Nomadic Design Gallery Heads Stateside for the First Time

Kicking off NYCxDesign is an ambitious public installation by the nomadic MASA Galeria, which presents objects by Mexico-based talents alongside seminal 20th-century works throughout Rockefeller Center and a poignant public installation by Pia Camil.

“Intervención/Intersección” by MASA Galeria at Rockefeller Center. Photography by Caylon Hackwith

Even though MASA Galeria is fairly young, the enterprising Mexican gallery has brought its sought-after exhibitions to far-flung locales around the world: a dilapidated Mexico City mansion, the oldest private medical clinic in Oaxaca, and an empty skyscraper in the heart of Roma are just a few of the nontraditional exhibition sites. Founded by designers Héctor Esrawe and Brian Thoreen, curator Agé Salajõe, OMR gallery co-founder Cristobal Riestra, and collectors Roberto Díaz Sesma and Isaac Bissu as a platform for contemporary experimental design, the gallery has ventured to the United States for the first time to help kick off NYCxDesign festivities in New York—specifically, the former federal post office near Rockefeller Center’s skating rink. 

With functional objects by big-name Mexican or Mexico-based talents, “Intervención/Intersección” puts the nuances of the country’s art and design legacy on full display. “We want to suggest not singular moments of artistic genius, but rather communities and mentorship,” curator Su Wu tells Surface. “Maybe this helps us resist an impulse to taxonomy that applies not only to design and art, but also how we think about time. In particular, we’re really showing work that exists between spaces and in these gaps in history. It upholds a capacity exemplified in Mexico for double-meaning, for contradictory belief, for gossip and relationships that exceed the professional, and how this is a history as valuable as any sanctioned biography.” 

“Intervención/Intersección” by MASA Galeria at Rockefeller Center. Photography by Caylon Hackwith

Notable pieces on view include a bench made of overflowing chain links by Frida Escobedo, seesaws with unexpected centers of balance by Miguel Calderon, and an abstract folding screen by Xavier Loránd that rethinks the classic room divider. The design project Marrow, launched by Rafa Prieto and Loup Sarion, repurposes bone remnants collected after dinner parties into lustrous wall-mounted lamps.

Perhaps most evocative is Pia Camil’s ambitious public artwork, Saca Tus Trapos Al Sol (Air Out Your Dirty Laundry), which replaces Rockefeller Center’s 193 flags usually displaying members of the UN with a clothesline of personal items from Mexico City residents. Featuring more than 700 items hanging overhead, it’s her largest and most poignant work to date. Each piece is imbued with personal stories—among them are tales of summer love, memories of heartbreak, and testimonies from Ukrainian refugees who recently fled to Mexico. 

“Intervención/Intersección” will be on view until June 24. 

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