Patricia Martín (born in Mexico City) is a Mexican independent art curator. Since the 1990s, she has been boosting and promoting contemporary art collections in Mexico and abroad. Her job has been crucial for the acknowledgement and promotion of Mexican contemporary art in the local and international scene. Currently at the head of Casa Wabi Foundation, curating independent exhibitions for artists such as Ugo Rondinone and acting as a consultant for various public and private collections; she has created, managed and directed one of the most important contemporary art collections and foundations in Latin America: The Júmex Collection.
She also has a weekly art column in the Mexican daily paper El Financiero.
Martín began her professional career as an art director for movie productions, working in over 80 projects involving advertisements, music videos and feature films both in Mexico and overseas. To keep learning from new and different sources, she moved to the United Kingdom in 1994. She enrolled in the Master’s program in Postwar and Contemporary Art at the University of Manchester; where she earned a master's degree in 1997. Between 1995 and 1997, she directed the research, registry and documentation program for Lisson Gallery’s 30th anniversary & commemorative project in London.
Casa Wabi Foundation
In 2014, together with NYC based artist Bosco Sodi, Patricia contributes as director creation of "'Fundación Casa Wabi'". A social project composed of an extensive artistic residency program, a film program and a sculpture and botanical garden. This project has the goal to promote a creative exchane of ideas between artists and the surrounding communities.
The name Casa Wabi comes from the Japanese concept wabi sabi, which means the art of de buscar la belleza en la imperfección, en el accidente y en la profundidad de la naturaleza.
The Foundation grounds, near Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca (in the Mexican pacific coastline) were designed and overlooked by Japanese master architect Tadao Ando, facilities include six dorms and a working studio, as well as the 90 acre sculpture and botanical garden.
This Foundation seeks to be a space of interaction between artists of all disciplines and also a valuable community centre to the local nearby communities. In keeping with the needs of its location social work and environmental conscience will always be of vital importance to Casa Wabi.
La Colección Jumex
In 1997, Martín started to imagine what three years later was known as La Colección Jumex, one of the most influential and visionary contemporary art programs in Latin America. From 1997 to 2005, she was its director and curator; under her supervision, both the exhibition hall and the warehouses to safely store the works of art were built in Ecatepec, on the outskirts of Mexico City. The building complex also houses a contemporary art public library where seminars, workshops and other educational programs regularly take place.
At La Colección Jumex, Martín promoted multilevel and multimodal dialogues around contemporary art through sponsorship agreements with artists, curators, investigators and public institutions. In the seven years that Martín was in charge of the evolution and growth of the art collection, more than 1,200 works of art became part of it. Since the end of the 1990s, she acquired for the collection important works from contemporary artists such as Thomas Demand, Olafur Eliasson, Fischli & Weiss, Ceal Floyer, Dan Graham, Bas Jan Ader, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Rivane Neuenschwander, Robert Smithson, among others.
Martín’s greatest contribution, however, was the audacity and vision to collect and exhibit alongside the established artists aforementioned, works from Mexican contemporary artists such as Francis Alÿs, Daniel Guzmán, Teresa Margolles, Gabriel Orozco, Damián Ortega, Fernando Ortega, Pedro Reyes, Santiago Sierra, and Pablo Vargas Lugo, detonating a process where Mexican artistic production began to be gradually intertwined with the international art scene.
Among the exhibitions curated by Martín at La Colección Jumex are:
- Rodney Graham, Mexico City / 2005
- The uses of image: photography, film and video in La Colección Jumex (co-curated with Carlos Basualdo), MALBA / Argentina / 2004
- Eden, Mexico City / 2003 & Bogota / 2004
- Thisplay, Mexico City / 2002
- The Inaugural Exhibition of La Colección Jumex, Mexico City / 2001
- 33 pieces, Mexico City / 1999.
While running the art collection, Martín also created and coordinated the visiting curator program, where international curators were invited to do a reading of La Colección Jumex:
- On Kawara (Jonathan Watkins / 2005)
- La Colmena (Guillermo Santamarina / 2004)
- Killing Time and Listening Between the Lines (Philippe Vergne & Douglas Fogle / 2003)
- The Theory of Leisure (Dan Cameron / 2002).
Martín did not abandon her career as an independent curator, even when directing La Colección Jumex and after her departure. The exhibitions she organised from 1999 to present:
- Naturaleza Humana: Ugo Rondinone, Mexico City / 2014
- Fischli & Weiss, Mexico City / 2004
- Strawberry Fields, Guadalajara & Mexico City / 2004
- Sunday Afternoon at the 303 Gallery, New York / 2002
- Proyecto 4X: Francis Alÿs, Jonathan Hernández, Pedro Reyes & Laureana Toledo, Guadalajara / 2001
- Learning Less: photographs by Gabriel Orozco, Fischli & Weiss and Richard Wentworth, Mexico & Colombia / 2000-01
- 6 Young British Artists in LA International, Los Angeles / 1999.
In 2005, after her duties at La Colección Jumex had ceased, Martín moved to New York to direct Yvon Lambert New York’s gallery program. She stayed until 2007 to develop the organization’s internal restructuring project to efficiently position it within in the US art landscape, while supporting and promoting the works of artists represented by the gallery. Under her direction, the gallery exhibited individual exhibitions by Joan Jonas, Mircea Cantor, Charles Sandison, Sislej Xhafa.
Alumnos 47 Foundation
Between 2006 and 2010 Patricia Martín worked in conjunction with Moises Cosío to set the basis for the creation of Alumnos 47 Foundation. A civil non-profit organization whose original mission was to stimulate the creation, reflection and promotion of national and international contemporary art, through an autonomous body that would function as a laboratory in the field of artistic production, display, reflection, research, and training.
Since 2007, Martín creates, organizes and teaches introductory courses on contemporary art, enhancing bonds between approaches and chronological-historic knowledge of the origins on current artistic production. By inviting contemporary artists and curators to teach some of the classes in her courses, and because she has been spreading information on contemporary art in Mexico for the past two decades, she sets into practice what has been one of her primary concerns and permanent compromises: to include Mexican contemporary art within the worldwide discussion and its analysis.
Since 2008 and up to the present time she has been working as a senior advisor to Axa México in the construction and establishment of their private Mexican contemporary art collection, therefore, she has not stopped researching and looking for younger, emerging Mexican artists and including them in processes and environments that allow professional development. Right now she is involved in two residency programs. Since 2010 she has been working for the French government in their residency program between Mexico and France called Residencias cruzadas and since 2014 she is also the Director of Casa Wabi Foundation, an interdisciplinary residency program in the State of Oaxaca, in addition to a commission program, especially designed for the sculpture garden and a film cycle with high quality cinema for the community. The interaction between nature, contemporary art, architecture and the population of the surroundings will be motivated, creating a unique place for meeting and for creative integration.
Patricia has a weekly column about contemporary art in El Financiero newspaper and she writes periodically for several magazines, has more than a dozen published texts and is responsible for the edition and publishing of several art catalogs. She has given conferences, taught courses and conducted workshops in Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, Spain and United States.