Collectors to Watch: Jorge and Naim Zarur Buy Art About Today’s Most Pressing Issues

Collectors to Watch: Jorge and Naim Zarur Buy Art About Today’s Most Pressing Issues

When brothers Jorge and Naim Zarur were children, they accompanied their father, a cardboard packaging executive, on trips to Europe, where they visited museums like the Prado in Madrid, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, spending hours exploring their storied collections. “Goya, Velázquez, and Monet were part of our introduction to visual arts. I learned history through painting,” Jorge, now 37, recalled recently.

The brothers started collecting a little over a decade ago, in their mid-20s. Jorge said his first major acquisition happened six years ago, just before he got married, when he bought a work by Fernando García Ponce. “I love that piece so much because it introduced me to abstract art from Mexico,” he said.

Initially the brothers focused on Mexican art from the 1970s and ’80s, mostly done in the Neoexpressionist style. But they soon began buying work by some of today’s leading Mexican artists, like Claudia Peña Salinas, Enrique Hernandez, Alejandro Garcia Contreras, and Rodrigo Valenzuela. “These days, we’re more interested in the [current] voices to narrate the problems that we have now,” Jorge said. They also have a robust art library, “because you have to create a map for yourself and for your collection.”

Alejandro García Contreras’s My only advice (2020–21) is among Jorge and Naim Zarur’s recent acquisitions.
Courtesy Jorge Zarur and Naim Zarur

The brothers moved to Guadalajara almost 20 years ago. “Little by little, contemporary art started to appear every day in our lives, and a great search for culture began,” Jorge said. In recent years, they have started to focus their attention on supporting local talent. One artist they have become especially interested in is Guadalajara native Isa Carrillo, who depicts “all the things that you cannot see and cannot be explained through science,” Naim said, such as “auras or energies.”

At the end of October, Guadalajara will play host to the Estación Material art fair, where the brothers will sponsor an acquisition prize for local artists. “We want to make an example for people that they have to get involved in art,” Jorge said. “Because when you buy one art piece, you’re making everything move: You put your money in what you believe. The galleries can pay the artists. They can pay for the things they need to grow.”

Upon their father’s retirement in 2013, the brothers took over their family’s cardboard company. Within the next two years, they will open an industrial space near their offices to display their growing holdings, currently numbering around 100 works, as a way to fulfill their vision of having “a great collection in our city to visit.”

A version of this article appears in the October/November 2021 issue of ARTnews.

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