Gustavo Monroy, Yolanda Mora, José García Torres, Manolo Rivero, German Venegas, José García Ocejo, Leandro Soto, Diego Gutiérrez / Kees Hin
"My obsession with art is not about my own art, but the one of others."
It was the summer of 2006 the first time I visited Merida, I arrived directly to check-in at the Trinidad Hotel after having traveled more than 1,500 kilometers by road. The hotel was on Calle 60 and 51 in the center of the city. A place full of works of art, antiques and curiosities located throughout the site with a chaotic and whimsical order; what had been the showroom of an automotive agency was used as a hotel lobby which connected with an art gallery and an antique shop. There were plants, fountains, sculptures and glass spheres creating an eclectic and surreal tropical atmosphere.
Meanwhile Manolo, the owner of the hotel, was preparing for his next and what would be the last trip of his life. A few days later he would travel to Asia where he would take the opportunity to buy more rugs, handicrafts and curiosities for his hotel and gallery which he handled simultaneously blurring the boundaries between one and the other.
Manolo Rivero, gallerist, collector and art lover, was born in Merida, Yucatan in 1941 and died while flying over the Atlantic Ocean in 2006. Among his many projects, perhaps the most relevant and to which he devoted the most energy and affection to, was Hotel Trinidad named after his mother, and which more than a hotel served as a true cultural and social center with great influence in the eighties and nineties. Manolo with a peculiar and eccentric lifestyle for his time, being admired and recognized for his great contribution to the art of the region and also for supporting Cuban artists of the 1990s during the Castro regime was himself an artist that generated special environments and connections through the art of others.
More than ten years after that first visit, I decided to return to Merida, this time to live here with my family. Then, I began to try to understand and reconstruct Manolo's influence on the cultural life of the city. Here, in the old factory of Don José Rivero -Manolo's father-, which we have transformed to conceive a set of cultural initiatives within the former Avena Rivero’s industrial warehouse, is where this review of his legacy takes place.
For the inaugural exhibition of SALÓN, the program of exhibitions at Salón Gallos, we brought together a series of works of art and objects related to the hotel and its founder, trying to remember the essence of that mythical place.
I hope you enjoy this exhibition along with the current and future programming of Salón Gallos, which I like to imagine, Manolo would have enjoyed visiting.
José García Torres
Merida, Yucatan, September 2020