Harriet Lloyd-Smith, Wallpaper Magazine, November 12, 2021

Mexico City art hub JO-HS opens inside a modernist icon

New exhibition space and creative hub JO-HS opens inside a striking example of modernist Mexico City architecture by Carlos Herrera



In Mexico City, a new, multifaceted arts hub has arrived on the scene. JO-HS, founded by Danish curator and gallerist Elisabeth Johs, is a new exhibition space, artist residency and shop that will spotlight a cross-section of local and international contemporary creativity, and offer studio and living space for emerging artists in Mexico City. Johs, who was formally based in New York and is co-founder of the city’s Trotter & Sholer gallery, moved to Mexico City last year after finding herself unable to return to the US due to coronavirus travel restrictions. 


JO-HS occupies an architecturally significant building in San Miguel Chapultepec, Mexico City, a former residence and architectural studio designed by Mexican architect Carlos Herrera and constructed in 1981. This light-filled modernist gem has been sensitively and elegantly renovated to adapt to a platform for contemporary art. 


JO-HS’ inaugural show, ‘Vivarium’, features work by eight contemporary Mexican artists: Alicia Ayenegui, Carlos Garcia Noriega, Carla Hernández, Celeste, Emilio Chapela, Fernando Ocaña, Miguel Pedroza, Alonso Leon-Velarde, Perla Krauze and Tania Ximena. 


Participating artists responded to two fundamental questions: ‘What does art need to survive? How does art escape the contemporary?’ In its purest sense, the vivarium is an environment in which to maintain life; the show is an art ecosystem in which to cultivate contemporary discourse.


Through his exploration of automobility as a psychological condition, artist and car designer Fernando Ocaña delves into the anthropology of speed. Elsewhere, Carla Hernández homes in on the synergy between humans and plants, and conceptual artist Tania Ximena takes a distinctive approach to the landscape genre, combining volcanology, and scientific and historical research with spirituality to pose the question: ‘How does one move from experience to image?’


‘I’m thrilled to debut JO-HS and to fulfil a long-held vision for a place to slow down, create and appreciate art in Mexico City,’ says Johs. ‘I have long admired the vibrancy and creativity of this city and aim for JO-HS to be a hub for international creativity where we celebrate the work of Mexican artists in particular.’


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