Salón Silicón

I associate Salón Silicón, for better or worse—for worse—with a former friend of mine. He was, or more likely still is, one of these white people from richer nations that wear “queerness” as a sort of fashionable mask for their racist and colonialist impulses, who, standing at the expensive queer party, confide in me, their fellow white queer from a richer nation, how lazy they think Mexicans are, how wonderfully cheap everything is, how lovely the new apartment they just bought will be, how much “opportunity” they see here. Our friendship should have ended the first time he told me how lazy Mexicans are—a ridiculous sentiment given that it is impossible to walk down the street without encountering somebody who works 8+ hours a day, six or seven days a week, at an informal street stand, probably with an additional hour-plus commute—but it finally ended when he tried to get me involved in a pyramid scheme: “just put in €10,000 or something, you’ll make it back really fast!”

Anyway, the first few times I went to Salón Silicón, it was with him. Once he even showed work there. We would get belligerently drunk at the gallery and then go somewhere else to spend money. After our friendship ended, I didn’t go for months, out of embarrassment and fear of seeing him. I finally started going back in the last few months. The gallery is located in Escandón, a pleasant, middle-upper-class residential neighborhood that abuts richer, more foreign Condesa and much poorer Tacubaya. I think the first time I went was during Art Week, the ten-ish days that surround Mexico City’s two major art fairs, in 2018. The gallery had converted itself, as it also did in 2019, into Galerías Similares, a hilarious copy of the ubiquitous Farmacías Similares, whose trademark Doctor Simis can often be seen dancing to the special Similares soundtrack in front of every pharmacy. Because the gallery is not large enough to accommodate the crowds it attracts at openings, it’s one of those places where I don’t know the address. I just know to get off the train at Patriotismo and walk down José Marti until I encounter a crowd of hot queers spilling onto the street.

When I asked them where they located queerness in their practice as a gallery, Salón Silicón responded: “in our butts.” It reminded me of the time when I was talking to a trans friend who worried that queer theory was theorizing her body out of existence. Just because a person or organization chooses not to do intellectual somersaults in order to justify themselves as queer does not mean that they aren’t, and it was a good answer to my question. That said: Salón Silicón primarily shows work by female- and/or queer-identified artists. They identify themselves as a more transparent, less exclusive version of a private gallery. Both of these things strike me as queer, the latter even more than the former: choosing to care for, in a non-exclusive way, those with whom you are close.