PEANA stages a show in a Juan O’Gorman–designed house that centers the stories of the home’s lived-in objects

Mexico City’s art scene was on full display during this year’s semana del arte, a weeklong culture-and-commerce festival that has grown into a glitzy international attraction, packed with appointments and open mezcal bars that vie with the art on offer. Between Zona Maco, the big, blue-chip fair, and several independent salons, smaller happenings lure visitors to traverse the metropolis for viewings in unexpected settings. Even in a city with no shortage of recondite locations, many compelling sites tend to be off limits, requiring patient scouting and brokering by gallerists and curators. But no one is better at securing normally impenetrable, pedigreed architectural gems for its research-based group shows than PEANA. (The gallery’s permanent home, designed by local firm oioioi, is in a former gym in the Roma Sur district.)

After exhibitions at Ernesto Gómez Gallardo’s Möbius house (2019) and Agustin Hernandez’s skybound sci-fi lair (2022), this year PEANA founder Ana Pérez Escoto convinced the family of Conlon Nancarrow to allow part of the house Juan O’Gorman co-designed for the experimental composer around 1949 to host a thought-provoking and playful tête-à-tête between the works of 24 artists, titled A Stubborn Man and a Hermit Walk Into a Bar. Some were created specifically to respond to the venue—a one-of-a-kind space that was the product of a special friendship between composer and architect. O’Gorman is best known for Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo’s twin houses and for his mosaic-covered library tower on the National University’s campus (UNAM). But between those two projects, the politically engaged O’Gorman, who was also an accomplished painter, underwent a radical change of heart.


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