One of the leading North American galleries to espouse the importance of modern and contemporary Latin American art, Art Basel Miami Beach-exhibited Sicardi Gallery (founded in 1994 by Maria Ines Sicardi, with partners Allison Ayers and Carlos Bacino), opens a gleaming new building that makes other white cubes look like mere stores. The 5,800-square-foot space (designed by Argentinean-born, Houston-based architect Fernando Brave) is more kunsthalle or foundation than bodega for dealing art. The double-decker, metal-clad structure possesses natural light aplenty, thanks to 16-foot ceilings and extensive fenestration. Along a landing, broad windows boast a screen that can be lowered for viewing videos, which can be projected inside or shown outdoors — a cool take on a drive-in theater. These dealers have come a long way from their days in a micro space adjoining a hair salon on Kipling, then a free-standing space adjoining McClain Gallery. What remains unchanged is their commitment to the work of the South American continent, including chromatic king Carlos Cruz-Diez; kinetic master Jesus-Rafael Soto; Pop/conceptual photographer Liliana Porter; Thomas Glassford, whose light-enveloped project for a Mexico City university is one of the most exciting public-art pieces of the decade; and Oscar Muñoz, a Colombia–based, Venice Biennale–exhibited master who is Sicardi’s opening act (June 7 – August 25). Watch for Muñoz’s photographs, a video and a compelling series of recent drawings, “Paístiempo,” based on fading newspaper headlines. Seven years before the Latin American department was started at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Sicardi began introducing its progressive programming to Houston audiences, and this handsome new temple, across from the Menil’s main parking area, stands as an emphatic mountain on our art landscape. 1506 W. Alabama St., 713.529.1313; sicardigallery.com.
IMAGE: Allison Ayers, Maria Ines Sicardi, Carlos Bacino. Photo by Jenny Antill.