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prensa: Painter Roberto Gil de Montes Has the Art World’s Attention. He’s Focused On His Life in Small-Town Mexico

The Mexican American painter opened a solo show at Kurimanzutto’s New York outpost last night. A taste of Gil de Montes’s surrealist-infused practice, the presentation is a testament to the thorny resilience of the artist’s four-decade-long career.

When Roberto Gil de Montes was 12, television arrived in his hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico. One afternoon, a documentary about the British sculptor Henry Moore came on his TV set. “I was watching it very carefully,” Gil de Montes remembers over Zoom. “There was a big studio, and there was a garden. Somewhere there were sculptures. Just by seeing this, I told myself, That’s what I am. I turned off the TV, and I went off and started making art.”

Today, the artist is in his early 70s. He is back in Mexico, living a few hours away from Guadalajara in the beach hamlet of La Peñita de Jaltemba. When he was a teenager, his family moved to Los Angeles, the town where he began to make a name in the Chicano arts movement, a label he sees himself and many of his peers as “being lumped together” under. But it’s only in the past few years that Gil de Montes’s lucid reverie of a practice has picked up major traction in the art world. He began showing with Mexico City staple Kurimanzutto in 2020, made an appearance in Cecilia Alemani’s Venice Biennale last year, and had a solo presentation at Kurimanzutto’s Paris+ par Art Basel booth. Last night, the artist opened “Reverence in Blue,” a solo show at Kurimanzutto’s New York outpost. To mark its opening, Gil de Montes called CULTURED to talk about enrolling in art forever, how he’s reckoning with the surge in attention, and why he’d take his gardener’s job any day...