Founded in 1999, the Kurimanzutto Gallery combines the names of founders Mónica Manzutto and José Kuri. Having begun with no fixed exhibition space, the well-known artist, Gabriel Orozco presented both of them with a project to support younger artists in Mexico City.
Orozco’s idea addressed a real need within the Mexico art scene. With very few galleries dedicated to contemporary art, and cultural institutions barely supported the work of younger generations, the need for a an infrastructure to allow emerging artists to consolidate their careers in Mexico and abroad was apparent.
Orozco’s near ten years of experience in dealing with international galleries allowed him to contribute a particular vision to the project. From the beginning, Kurimanzutto invested in artists’ careers rather than in their own space.
Their first exhibition, “Market Economy,” opened on August 21, 1999 and was open to the public for less than 24 hours. In a rented place, thirteen of the fourteen artists who were then part of the gallery, contributed works for sale made with materials from a market and at prices equivalent to the things around them in the same market.
The gallery’s relative flexibility gave them the possibility to travel and to invite foreign artists and curators to Mexico City. Stimulating a critical and creative dialogue became an integral part of their way of working.
In the early years the majority of artists participated in nearly all the gallery exhibitions. Projects were solved collaboratively and while each artist developed an individual practice, everyone contributed to and learned from the work of others. This way of relating gave them a sense of belonging and ended up shaping Kurimanzutto. In the first four years, the gallery carried out more than twelve different projects in all types of locations. These included a supermarket parking lot, the Mexico City international airport of Mexico City, the Los Manantiales restaurant in Xochimilco, and in a shipping container.
Mónica and José’s apartment, which had served as office and warehouse in the early years, was outgrown in 2006. The purchase of a wine bar on Juan de la Barrera street in Condesa gave them an exhibition space, a workshop, and a studio, but above all, it became a tool for artists.
In 2008, Kurimanzutto Gallery opened its current exhibition space on Governor Rafael Rebollar Street. Currently representing 33 artists, national and international, it continues to organize and support exhibitions in other spaces. Less a space for contemplation, the gallery is a meeting place for criticism and research, and which lends itself to the development of risky projects rarely seen in commercial galleries.