The biennial’s public program consists of two parts: one that addresses the general public with talks and workshops given by both curators and artists-in-residence, and another that consists of a specialized symposium to be held in November 2018, whose theme will be biennials in Latin America.


The Public Program’s First Phase

Throughout this year we will have several talks with the artists commissioned to develop works in the biennial. The purpose of these talks, to take place in El Santero, will be to present the Zacatecan public with the different artistic projects of the event. The goal of this dynamic is to generate a platform for local audiences to interact with the biennial’s artists and to facilitate a dialogue around Zacatecas’ culture, as well as to introduce a local public to the interests of each artist.


Activities at El Santero Aimed at the Zacatecan Artistic and Cultural Community

Various activities will be carried out at El Santero focusing on local artistic traditions, Zacatecas’ cultural history, and the way in which the city has related to Latin America’s art history. This program will focus on technical traditions from the region, as well as highlighting certain currents or guiding principles behind art production from Zacatecas. It also seeks to question the hierarchical structures of the center-periphery that Zacatecas both generates and operates within in order to propose new methods for collaboration between local artists and those invited as part of the XIII FEMSA Biennial.


El Santero
El Santero, a cultural space founded by Zacatecan artist Alfonso López Monreal, is another one of the venues for the biennial’s curatorial program. Architect Giacomo Castagnola will adapt the space, which will house the offices of the biennial, some exhibition programming, and the biennial’s artistic residencies, as well as the talks and workshops given by the international artists during their visit. El Santero will also host the biennial’s pedagogical program, and will house seminars with art historians, biennial curators, and art theorists invited to participate in the biennial’s new educational initiative.

Themes include:
– A review of local independent spaces
– A review of graphic arts in Zacatecas, including conversations between artists and editors about the state of the discipline
– Arts Education
– Art History (ies) in Zacatecas: its research and local context
– Museums, community museums


Conditioning of the Space
The first project commissioned by the XIII FEMSA Biennial was offered to architect, museographer, and designer Giacomo Castagnola, whose research has focused on the self- constructed, informal architecture that makes up eighty percent of the growing mobile urban infrastructure of many Latin American cities. Currently, Castagnola works in Mexico City in exhibition design that seeks to transcend the white cube model and the bureaucracy of drywall as a dominant material.

The project designed by Castagnola for El Santero is part of a collaboration with two artisans from Jerez, Zacatecas, Miguel Morales Muro and his son Daniel, who built two types of straw chairs typical to the region. These concept models will serve as furniture in the space that will be used for the various activities of We Have Never Been Contemporary.