A non profit independent cultural project, created by the visual artist Máximo González, that exhibits and promotes artists through an alternative platform.
In Mexico, we can trace street vending back to pre-Colombian times. There is evidence of a great market that functioned near Tlatelolco since the XIV century. Years later Hernán Cortés and Bernal Díaz del Castillo wrote detailed and astounding descriptions of this market. Throughout the city we find smaller markets, although not less important, called tianquitzli by the indigenous. These markets would be the origin of what we know today as “tianguis”; ambulant markets that are set up one or two days a week in different parts of the city. These tianguis are a borderline between formal and informal commerce, considering they are in constant expansion.
What we call “informal commerce” has become a phenomenon of extraordinary dimensions, considering the continuous economic crisis that affects the country and the accelerated decrease in employment generation. By 2003 there were more than 3 million people occupied in this informal commerce and its growth rate was more than 10% annually, statistics that make us think that by now informal economy should prevail over that of formal commerce.
Fascinated by this immediate reality, Máximo González became an avid observer of this cultural and economic phenomenon. Since 2003 he has kept a register of the possibilities of these vending stands with sketches, drawings and photographs.
Since its beginning, Changarrito is conceived as a physical space where diverse artistic expressions coexist. In it we find contemporary art, for export intervened hand crafts, Mexican art stereotypes, poetry, etc. There is space for every ideology, political tendency, and aesthetic tastes. It’s content is eclectic, reflecting the panorama of Mexican art and society, in constant mutation as each participating artist transforms the project and adopt in order to present their work.
Text: María Luisa Rubio (2006)
In 2004, Mexico is invited to the Contemporary Art Fair ‘ArCo 2005’. Gonzalez knows the different galleries and artists that will represent Mexico officially, but he considers that the selection made represents only a sector of the scene of the art in the country. This way he decides that the project he would present will work as a platform to exhibit artists that are not part of the official selection.
He makes an open call ‘to all the artists that want to exhibit at ArCo 2005’. More than 70 artists, bring their artworks, that must fit into a portable cart, designed by Máximo, for such an important event.
Changarrito is driven through the art fair, exhibiting and selling the work of the artists that live in Mexico. The money of the sales is 100 % for the participating artists: Changarrito does not earn commission.
Back to Mexico, it is temporarily placed in front of galleries, museums, cultural centers, seminars, and art events, exhibiting different artists.
Maximo builds extra carts to exhibit artists in other cities: Austin TX, Caracas, Vienna, San Francisco, Chicago, Brooklyn, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Venice, where he is invited to promote the Mexican pavilion.
At the same time, Changarrito acquires a contemporary art collection composed of works that had been bought to the artists during their exhibition at Changarrito or that had been donated by the exhibited artists (1,060 pieces up to January 2013).
In 2012, Changarrito starts its publishing Project ‘Letritas del Changarrito’.
What does it offer?
As a live project that it is, Changarrito is faithful to its informal spirit; it has evolved in order to become an institution at mercy of contemporary art. It has incorporated projects such as a Changarrito Collection, the Poetic Library, and editorial “Letritas del Changarrito” (literally, “Changarrito’s Little Letters”). It has also become a forum for public programs, with special curatorial projects, individual and collective exhibits, book presentations, and express conferences. There is even a funding program through which you can become an Amigos del Changarrito (Friends of Changarrito), and support the project.
How does it work?
- Curatorial practices
- Individual and collective exhibits
- Book presentations
The curatorial practices are where curators, artists, poets and investigators are invited to present exhibits called "friends" of other exhibits. These “friend” exhibits happen in the exterior of institutions at the same time that an event is happeing, and exhibition or opening. Changarrito installs outside the main space and makes its parallel exhibition taking advantage of the event and adhering to it by inviting friends and project followers.
The exhibits (individual or group) are based on an invitation by Changarrito or by requests that artists make to exhibit on Changarrito. The are normally a one-day event. These exhibits do not respond to any sort of curatorial model.
Book Presentations, here the Changarrito becomes a forum in which independent authors may present their books.
During the exhibitions, the artists who want to sell their work, they can sell it to people approaching Changarrito. 100% of what artists receive from these sales is for the artists. Changarrito does not keep any percentage or commission for the sale of these pieces.
What other projects does it include?
The Changarrito Collection is created by acquired artwork as well as donated pieces from artists that have participated in Changarrito.
The Changarrito Collection lends artwork to participate in various exhibits and curated shows in other institutions.
CHANGARRITO POETIC LIBRARY
A library specialized in contemporary poetry and artist’s books. In order to continue this library’s development, you may donate poetry or artist’s books, in addition to acquiring a “Friends of the Poetic Library of Changarrito” silkscreen, to sponsor the “Letritas del Changarrito” editorial, which produces plaquettes of new authors, poets and projects for artist’s books.
Produces plaquettes and artists’ books. It works based on the enthusiasm of authors to publish their own books.