Everything Here Is Volcanic

Javier Senosiain [Mexican, b. 1948] Vulcan or Hephaestus cast out of Olympus , 2022 Ferrocement, pieces of Mexican tile and black tile grout


The ninth annual guest-curated exhibition at Friedman Benda surveys contemporary design from Mexico. Everything Here Is Volcanic, the first exhibition at the gallery for 2023 was overseen by Mexico-based design curator Mario Ballesteros. The title comes from a quote by Swiss architect Hannes Meyer, who for more than decade, lived and worked in Mexico during the 1940s. The reference is both to the geography of the region and his experience creating modernist architecture in a country with deeply established cultural and aesthetic traditions.

This exhibition feels like an extension of the fantastic MASA show held during 2022 NYCxDesign. There’s a similar wide range of object types, materials and styles. This breadth of aesthetic choices doesn’t dilute the sense that all this work comes from a geographic place versus the global popularity pools online. It’s always refreshing to see an exhibition that’s not in lock step with the latest design media hyped trends or the pinterest algorithm.

Some highlights include the industrial rustic Mexican vernacular kitchen by studio Tezontle. The ready-made inspired cHaRcO Lamp by Andrés Souto with Arca lamp vibes. There’s also a pair of what appear to be deformed plastic buckets, but are actually stools wrapped in black leather by fashion designer and artist Bárbara Sánchez Kane.

Photos and Text: Dave Pinter