Zoots’ work has been exhibited throughout the US, including the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and Scope Art Fair Miami Beach. Since 2010 he has exhibited internationally including a site specific installation at the Museum of Image + Sound in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Zoots has exhibited at Preteen Gallery in Mexico City and at Arcadia Missa in London. In August of 2013 Mario participated in the Biennial of the Americas. Mario Zoots’ work is published in "The Age of Collage: Contemporary Collage in Modern Art," this document was released by Gestalten Berlin. Since 2015, Zoots has participated in a number of artist residencies including RedLine in Denver, CO and Dedazo in Chiapas, MX. In the summer of 2017 Zoots did a series of interventions in abandoned buildings throughout Mexico in Chiapas and Oaxaca.
I Love New York But I Live In Denver is a series of collages made during a seventeen-day visit to New York City in February 2020. This time entertained my infatuation with a place I read and fantasized about as a young artist. Stories of my 1980s heroes, Basquiat, Haring, and Warhol, and their ventures in the city read again as I developed a new physical connection to a place. Like many artists before me, I’ve dreamt of living and working in New York. The “New York Dream” embedded into my psyche from childhood memories of my parents hosting house parties, turning our living room into a makeshift dance club blasting Grandmaster Flash, Sugar Hill Gang, and Kurtis Blow over the speakers. Seventeen days was just enough time to write an optical love letter to a city that captured my attention and long enough to miss the city my roots are tied to.
All the materials used to make this series were found and sourced in New York. I mined material from East Village Books on St. Marks Place and Strands Rare Book Room on Broadway, finding books related to architecture, photography, and art history. One primary source for this series was Young New York by Ethan James Green, featuring portraits of models, visual artists, and nightlife icons taken in Corlears Hook Park on the Lower East Side. These images were deconstructed and intermixed with pictures found within the books I mined and postcards, magazines, and slide negatives collected along the way.
During this stay in New York, I felt more connected to the city than in past visits. Riding the train to museums, galleries, and visiting artists’ studios, I felt one with the city. I was living out a fantasy, touching all that I could then return to my small hotel room in Lower Manhattan to unwind, reflect, and make work. Layers and transparencies fill the collages in this series, reflecting the makeshift studio space in the small hotel room. The large window overlooking the cityscape became a backdrop for the works. The deconstructed photos and cut-offs of materials were taped and layered upon the glass, forging new compositions and arrangements.
There’s something romantic about the noisy streets, the sea of asphalt and concrete, the surrounding towers of glass and steel, and the crowded subway cars with people laughing, screaming, and sleeping. Hell, even all those damn rats had their charm. Yet, even with this enchantment, there remained a sense of longing for Denver.
The title of this project came from a tote bag a good friend gifted me designed by Pamela Barsky. In her statement, she says the design was inspired by her friend “who loves New York more than anyone I’ve ever met, but he lives in Denver.” Sharing the same sentiment, I appropriately stole the title for this series.