MASA Gallery launches its permanent space in Mexic...

MASA Gallery launches its permanent space in Mexico City

Marking its fifth anniversary, MASA gallery opens its first permanent space in the heart of Mexico City: the 600 mcolonial house known for some of the most extravagant parties of the 1960s and 1970s in Mexico City, becomes MASA’s new home. Previously owned by great art visionary, writer and patron Federico Sánchez Fogarty (1901 – 1976), the 18th century building was the location of over 300 of Fogarty’s Fiestas del Tercer Imperio (“Parties of the Third Empire”). Orchestrated with the very own brush of famous muralist José Clemente Orozco (1883 – 1949), the evenings were attended by artists, writers, and critics – all of whom contributed to the construction and aesthetics of modern Mexico. In this way, by challenging existing boundaries and through its nomadic nature, MASA, since 2018, gives artists, designers, and architects a platform to question the frames of functional and non-functional works, experience unconventional pathways and explore the unexpected. Driven by Mexico’s renaissance of modern thinking, the gallery has come to represent works that explore the philosophical aspects of intention and function.

Brian Thoreen, studio installation view of the upcoming show Non-Zero-Sum, 2023. Ph. Alejandro Ramirez Orozco, courtesy MASA

In this first appointment, in the new MASA space, it is possible to see the relation between Thoreen and Torres. In Non-Zero-Sum, artist and designer Brian Thoreen explores unconventional ways of fabrication and corporeality, expanding on traditional concepts and pushing the boundaries of materiality. At the same time, multidisciplinary artist Mario García Torres presents The Space Under My Chair & The Music I Was Listening To.

Brian Thoreen, studio installation view of the upcoming show Non-Zero-Sum, 2023 (detail). Ph. Alejandro Ramirez Orozco, courtesy MASA

Known for challenging conventional concepts and pushing the boundaries of art and design, Thoreen’s Non-Zero-Sum presents over ten functional and six non-functional works, unveiling his mastery in finding progressive ways to manipulate materials beyond the conventional. The pieces on view showcase a bold exploration of form and utility. This dialogue between function and form is beautifully portrayed in large sculpture-like pieces, such as the two-meters candle made from 200 kilos of raw cast beeswax, unexpectedly exhibiting the object’s mysterious and sensual aspect. Enchanted with the diversity and multiplicity of rubber, Thoreen also presents a chair made solely from folded and stacked heavy neoprene consisting of nearly two tons of material while maintaining a sinuous tactility. In conversation with the collectible design pieces, Thoreen reveals a triptych of large works on paper displaying a binary code landscape by inscribing small charcoal sticks into the paper. Through materiality and conceptuality, the piece merges digital and analog; standing between functionality and non-functionality, the triptych contains coded information, yet the information is kept secret from the viewer. Furthermore, Thoreen offers a continuation and expansion of his longstanding interest in making the static and kinetic laws of the universe visible, and the collision of a physical material with personal experimentation wrestling with the forces of gravity, displacement, velocity, mass, and scale.

Mario García Torres, This Monochrome Was Made While Listening Repeatedly to Van Halen’s, 1984 (detail). Courtesy MASA

In The Space Under My Chair & The Music I Was Listening To Mario García Torres unveils two series featuring design and artworks that explore conceptuality and function. A Cast of the Space Under My Chair is an aluminum stool inspired by Bruce Nauman’s iconic concrete work bearing the same name. Created in Nauman’s early career, the sculpture was crafted to consider the body’s relationship with the surrounding negative spaces. In the coated aluminum version, García Torres casts his desk chair, symbolically overturning the sculpture’s purpose by turning it into a functional object. For Nauman, casting the space below his seating was a way to reveal overlooked spaces; fifty years later, García Torres shines a light into a centuries-old tradition. In conversation with the design world is The Work I Painted This Monochrome While Repeatedly Listening to Gasolina by Daddy Yankee, a series of electrically plugged monochrome paintings. The pieces were made while listening to the song Gasolina, directly influencing their outcome. Attached to the surface of the canvas is a rhythmic led light, transforming the series into a piece of silent sound equipment.

Collective/Collectible, exhibition view, MASA Galería, Mexico City, 2019. Ph. Genevieve Lutkin, courtesy MASA

Ultimately, with this new space, MASA’ founders (Héctor Esrawe, Age Salajõe and Brian Thoreen) fuse their devotion and expertise in collectible design in a space for curatorial exploration, experimentation, and conversation on the sensibility around art and design. Their collaborative spirit brings Mexico’s creative community together, turning MASA into a meeting point for local contemporary artists, designers and architects. Ever since their first show (Collective/Collectible, at an abandoned modernist mansion in Mexico City in 2019) the founders have embarked on a nomadic journey, nurturing a community of emerging creatives, such as Marrow, Xavier Loránd, Panorammmma and Adeline de Monseignat. Internationally renowned artists, designers and architects, like Atelier Van Lieshout, Frida Escobedo, Pedro Reyes, Pia Camil, Jose Dávila and Milena Muzquiz, have exhibited in MASA’s exhibitions: Elementos Vitales, a homage to Ana Mendieta in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2021 and Intervención/Intersección at the Rockefeller Center in New York, in 2022.

Intervención/Intersección, exhibition view, MASA Galería, New York, 2022. Ph. Caylon Hackwith, courtesy MASA

Though its home will be in Mexico City, MASA will continue to expand its nomadic journey and conversation around art and design with discussions and programs. Initiatives include MASA CASA, offering studio visits of Mexico’s most influential artists, and MASA KIDS, making the exhibition accessible to children with custom age activities.

Fabio Fabris


Brian Thoreen and Mario García Torres
8/02/2023 – 8/04/2023
MASA Galeria
Joaquín A. Pérez 6, San Miguel Chapultepec I Secc, Miguel Hidalgo, 11850 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico 


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