The Founder of Zona Maco Opens Her Little Black Book

Zélika Garcia offers her take on art and hospitality, at home and abroad.

Thanks in a large part to founder Zélika Garcia, Mexico City’s Zona Maco has emerged as an important stop on the culture calendar. Back when it launched, in 2002, Mexican artists were largely absent from the global stage, but the sustained growth of the fair and the arrival of world-class museums and galleries have endowed the capital with increasing art-world gravitas. As the fourteenth edition gets underway, Garcia reveals her hometown picks, favorite international fairs, and other travel tastes.

Explain the significance of Zona Maco’s rising influence.

By embracing both cultural and non-cultural sectors, and connecting key players with the complexity of the Mexican art scene, it has been incorporated into the art world in a way that is unprecedented for Latin America.

Left: Zélika Garcia. Right: Inside Zona Maco. (Photos: Courtesy of Zélika Garcia and Zona Maco.)

What are your favorite art fairs?

I love the quality of work at Art Basel and Design Miami. In London, I really enjoy the dichotomy between classic and contemporary art as embodied by Frieze London and Frieze Masters. Paris’s International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) is a must, if only to see its venue, Paris’s Grand Palais; in New York, I visit the Armory Show and the relatively new Tefaf. I also think there’s something special about the satellite fairs like Nada or Untitled, which pop up in cities outside of the usual circuit.

What local cultural centers do you visit the most often?

Every city has its own distinctive feel. At home in Mexico, the Museo Anahuacalli, the Museum of Anthropology, Tamayo, Jumex, and the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo are some of my favorites. I fall in love with museums not only for their collections and shows, but also for the uniqueness of their architecture.

Is there a hotel somewhere in the world that you particularly enjoy staying at?

I love many hotels for their architecture and style, but for comfort, service, and location, the Connaught in London wins. It’s just so cozy.

An octopus dish at Contramar. (Photo: Courtesy Contramar)

What culinary experiences standout from your travels?

The Athenian House in Santorini is definitely my new favorite. It’s the best Greek cuisine I’ve ever tasted. If you’re visiting Mexico City, you can’t miss the seafood at Contramar, or the Mexican cuisine at Pujol. And of course, street tacos! Especially in Monterrey.

What’s your bucket-list destination?

Petra, in Jordan, for its rock-cut architecture. There are also a lot of small towns in Mexico that I haven’t been to yet—I love to traveling to new places.

Where do you go to unplug?

I try to balance my time, but my personal and professional lives always intersect. I can’t go on a trip without visiting a local gallery or collection, but if it has to be real vacation, it’s all about the beach and the sun.

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