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press: rirkrit tiravanija’s ‘mezcal vs. pulque’: social practice or cultural appropriation?

Back in late April, scores of people gathered at kurimanzutto gallery in Mexico City to visit a low, black wooden structure, known as a casita, and sample either mezcal or pulque straight out of small, handmade clay pots. These two agave-based alcoholic drinks were being served, unassumingly, by the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija in what felt like a candle-lit cave up in the foothills of Mexico. Everyone was huddled around countless clay mugs perched on a modest dining table for the opening of Tiravanija’s new show, ‘Mezcal vs. Pulque’. This thought-provoking exhibition is the result of a nearly two-year-long exchange between Tiravanija and Cooperativa 1050°, a collective of Indigenous potters from as far afield as Chiapas, Puebla and Oaxaca, with whom he rediscovered traditional pottery techniques from different regions of Oaxaca.