Over 120,000 viewers, 18,000 square meters, 5 days. These are only some of the figures for of what was, in the view of the most qualified critics and the media, the best-yet edition of arteBA Contemporary Art Fair. This instalment was a clear specimen of an event that combines great quality of exhibitions, a huge flow of visitors, and, undoubtedly, a great opportunity for sales.
arteBA’ 10 closed the doors on its 19th instalment proving itself to be the region’s most important cultural event for the annual convergence of gallery dealers, curators, critics, museum and institution directors, and international artists. arteBA is the starting point for an enormous quantity of shows, encounters, exhibitions, and acquisitions that go on during the year throughout the region.
arteBA’ 10 received the visits of more than 300 foreign guests, among them, major collectors and art patrons, directors and curators of international collections and museums, critics and representatives of the most influential media and institutions in the visual arts. Among the most important collectors who participated in the VIP Program were: Ella Fontanals-Cisneros, Anilú Gómez and Susana Fontanals of the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (Miami); Humberto and Rosalía Ugobono (Puerto Rico); Gabriel Pérez Barreiro (New York); Kai Loebach (Los Angeles, CA); Carlos Chateaubriand (Brazil); Richard Townsend (CEO of MOLAA); Gail and Louis Adler (Houston); Jack and Ann Moriniere and Elizabeth Cerejido (MFAH-Houston); Yolanda Santos (New York); Úrsula Dávila-Villa and Mike and Laura Wellen (Jack Blanton Museum–Austin); Carlos Cruz Puga (Chile); Grupo Núcleo Contemporáneo of MAM (São Paulo) and a group of Chilean business leaders, among many others.
The protagonists of the Fair were the art galleries. With the aim of maintaining high quality in the artistic offering that arteBA Fair presents, the selection of the 78 participating galleries was entrusted to a Selection Committee made up of Fernando Farina (president), Eva Grinstein, Sonia Becce, Jaime Cerón Silva (Colombia), Adriano Pedrosa (Brazil) and Orly Benzacar, representative for Argentine gallery dealers.
Twenty-nine foreign galleries took part in arteBA’10, most from the region but also from Europe and the United States. For years it has been arteBA’s mission to build up its Latin American dimension, and to celebrate this special 2010 bicentenary edition, the Foundation invited galleries from the other countries also observing their Bicentenary this year: Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela. With the presence as well of Brazil and Uruguay, arteBA ’10 was obviously a powerful reflection of the region’s artistic creation.
This year the Auditorium Program was sponsored by the City Government of the City of Buenos Aires, CCEBA, Sotheby’s and [the daily La Nación’s weekly supplement] ADN Cultura. Prime Time was entitled “Bicentenarios: después de la invención [“Bicentenaries: After Discovery/Invention]”; it was conceived and coordinated by Gabriela Rangel, (visual arts director of the Americas Society, New York). The intense debate took place at tables made up of Argentine and foreign cultural figures (curators, institution directors, artists etc.): Nicolás Guagnini (artist now settled in New York), Taiyana Pimentel (art critic, curator, and director of the Siqueiros Public Art Space, Mexico City), Pablo Vargas Lugo (artist based in Lima), Beverly Adams (curator of the Diane and Bruce Halle Collection of Latin American Art, Phoenix, Arizona, USA), Marcelo Brodsky (artist, Buenos Aires), Eduardo Gil (artist based in New York), Carlos Motta (artist also living in New York), Montserrat Albores Gleason (curator and founder of Espacio Petra. Mexico City), Isabel García (curator, Santiago, Chile), Tahía Rivero (curator of the Banco Mercantil Collection, Caracas). Within the “More Activities” Program, visitors could participate in the contemporary art series instigated by Alicia de Arteaga, Valeria González and Hugo Petruschansky, as well as in other important activities, such as the Homage to Ruth Benzacar and the lecture by Jennifer Flay (General Director of the FIAC– International Fair of Contemporary Art, Paris), among others.
A must-see part of arteBA was Barrio Joven (Young Neighborhood) Chandon. It was made up of 19 spaces from different parts of Argentina and other Latin American countries. The Barrio Joven Chandon Selection Committee was composed of Ana María Battistozzi (art critic and independent curator, Buenos Aires); Oscar Cruz (director of Oscar Cruz Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil) and Ana Martínez Quijano (art critic and independent curator, Buenos Aires), The third annual Premio EN OBRA [or “Under Construction” Prize] was also awarded. The jury of collectors, coordinated by Roxana Sucari and Alejandro Ikonicoff, chose as this year’s winner Horacio Cadzco, who showed the work “La destrucción del Traje” [Destruction of the Suit] at the Brummel space in Mexico. Second prize went to Federico Lamas for his work “Vete al Diablo” [Go to Hell] from Thisisnotagallery. Kim Soon Im received the third prize with the work The Face, a project including “The Face 1. Florance”, “The Face 2. Candal”, “The Face 3. Lee Ok Lan” and “The Face 4. Roland”. This year, Proyecto Munguau, the space in which Kim Soon Im shows, was awarded a prize for its curatorial project. The prize-winning gallery in Barrio Joven Chandon is a cultural-artistic exchange project between [South] Korea and Argentina. The EN OBRA Prize was established by Juan Cambiaso in 2008. This year the company Tantum, Beatriz and Pedro Stier and Juan and Tiny Cambiaso made contributions totalling $26,000 [Argentine pesos] to distribute among the prize recipients.
Now in its seventh year, the arteBA–Petrobras Visual Arts Prize, increasingly debated and controversial, has already become an institution for Argentine artists, and in 2010 its awarding was directed by Rafael Cippolini (essayist and freelance curator). Artist Adriana Miranda received the Stimulus Prize (non-acquisition) of $50,000 [pesos] for her work El espacio de acá [The Space Here]. The four other projects chosen, and displayed at the Fair, were by the artists Mario Caporali, Mariano Giraud, Rodolfo Marqués, and the Collective “Doble Suspensión.”
Prior to the opening of arteBA’10 Contemporary Art Fair, the sixth year the arteBA-Zurich Matching Funds Program had its successful beginning, allowing three major museums to add works chosen from the Fair to their collections. The Malba Museum–Costantini Foundation opted for Graciela Hasper’s Untitled from 2009, which was shown at the Ruth Benzacar Galery. The Tigre Art Museum chose the 1983 La Rivera by Miguel Dávila, which was on view at the Galería Sasha D., and Luis Felipe Noe’s La Memoria, from 2006, shown at the Galería Rubbers Internacional. Finally, the Emilio A. Caraffa Museum in Córdoba selected four works: Alfredo Prior’s 2000 Untitled, from the Galería Vasari; Abismos [Abysses] by Marcia Schvartz, from 2001, shown at the Galería Rubbers Internacional; Nicola y su doble frente al televisor [Nicola and Her Double in Front of the TV] by Nicola Costantino, a work from this year shown at the Galería Sicart in Spain; and Roman Vitali’s En esta casa hay fantasmas [There Are Ghosts in this House], a work from 2009, shown at the Galería Cultura Pasajera of Rosario.
For a second year, Mercedes Benz committed itself to acquisition at the arteBA Fair, with two works that will enter the company’s collection, one of the world’s most important corporate collections, featuring artists such as Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Max Bill, Walter de María and Nam June Paik. The works selected are: Continual Móvil by Julio Le Parc, from 1966, and Estudio para Escenario Gwangju #1 [Study for Gwangju City, #1] by Zinny/Maidagan, from 2007.
The Banco Ciudad and its Foundation, at their Bank stand at arteBA, presented the project “Bicentenary Obelisks,” consisting of the free intervention in Nora Iniesta’s work “Obelisk” by 25 outstanding artists, both established and emerging ones. Among them, Clorindo Testa, Rogelio Polesello and Eduardo Mac Entyre. In addition, the latter works joining the institution’s collection were all on exhibit; and, as in past years, the Bank held its traditional series of “Living Room Chats” (“Charlas de Living”). As an innovation, Banco Ciudad also presented a previously unshown work by artist Diego Bianchi.
For the second year in a row, CITI was the exclusive host for the Fair’s Pre-Opening, attended by a select group of collectors and important clients of the Bank. And at arteBA`10 the bank launched the arteBA–CITI Acquisitions Program for the National Fine Arts Museum, through which it donated U$S 25,000 [U.S. dollars] to the Friends of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Association (AAMNBA), designated to purchase works for Buenos Aires’s Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA). The selection went to the series Reflejos [Reflections] by Eduardo Stupia, a work from this year shown at the Galería Jorge Mara-La Ruche.
And for the second time as well, La Rural itself acquired five art works, giving continuity to Impulsarte, the company’s Incentive Program for Contemporary Art. The works chosen were: Todo el tiempo [The Whole Time] by Pablo Accinelli (2010), from the Galería Ignacio Liprandi Arte Contemporáneo; a work from the series Proverbio alquimista AII [Alchemical Proverb] by Cynthia Kampelmacher (2009), from the Galería Insight Arte; María and Andrés Pedro, in the series “Fotos al oleo” [Oil Photos] by Florencia Blanco (2008), from Ernesto Catena Fotografía Contemporánea; Máximo Pedroza’s 2010 Untitled, from the Galería Daniel Abate; and Amadeo Azar‘s “Rain Maker” (2009), from the Galería Nora Fisch.
Chandon once again made the first purchase in the Fair, behind closed doors. It chose “Simetría N° 27” by Verónica Di Toro, 2010, from the Galería Alberto Sendrós; the work will be donated to the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes Rosa Galisteo de Rodríguez, in the City of Santa Fe [Argentina].
For the second year in a row, the Directorate of Museums of the City of Buenos Aires, a division of the Ministry of Culture of the City Government, purchased works that will go into the Mamba collection (Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires). The works chosen are by Ernesto Deira, both Untitled and both from 1966, and both shown in the Galería Agalma Arte.
It is noteworthy too that, in the context of the Fair, the Provincial Fine Arts Museum Franklin Rawson of the Province of San Juan chose to increase its holdings with a purchase of the work Untitled by artist Alfredo Prior, a work from this year, shown at the Galería Vasari.
In this instalment of the Fair, in special commemoration of the May Bicentenary, the stand of the Secretariat of Culture of the Nation exhibited an important set of works from the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
In the course of arteBA’10, the first edition took place of the Golden Arches Competition [Concurso Arcos Dorados] for Latin American Painting. A curator for each of the following countries celebrating its Bicentenary in 2010: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, chose one artist from its country to exhibit a previously unshown work and take part in the competition. Before the Fair began and during its run, the public voted for its favorite work among the five selected. Manuel Mathar, a Mexican artist, with his “Divided I” [El yo dividido] was the winner, and the work has now joined the Golden Arches collection.
In the Arnet space, in the context of celebrations for Argentina’s Bicentenary, six contemporary artists recreated, on site, a map of our country, pursuing to the plan “200 years – 200 works.”
As in past years, the public could opt for the free service of audio-guides provided by the airline LAN, with an itinerary specially laid out by Alicia de Arteaga with spoken commentary by Lalo Mir, which allowed visitors an approach to the creative expression of both contemporary and already well-known artists.
Patio Bullrich shopping center sponsored the reconstruction of the installation by artist Edgardo Giménez used to give atmosphere to “Psexoanálisis”, the 1967 film by director Héctor Olivera, considered the first Pop film in Argentina. Edgardo Giménez’s work was donated by the artist and the Patio Bullrich for the opening of the MAMbA Museum in 2010. This donation will be the first stage in the donations project of Patio Bullrich-Dirección General de Museos del Ministerio de Cultura de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires, launched on the occasion of arteBA´10.
For the first time at an arteBA Fair, Yoo Nordelta, the new, avant-garde firm of Yoo, inspired by Philippe Starck, exhibited as its stand the interactive installation “Fusión”, by Cuban artist Leonel Matheu.
Also inaugurating its participation in the Fair, Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 accompanied artist Marta Minujín in presenting her latest work, Obelisco dorado multidireccional [Gilded Multidirectional Obelisk].The Exportar Foundation devised the fair’s Art Business Center, which was the meeting place for curators, gallery dealers, artists and leading cultural and business figures. Equally outstanding was the PROA Press Room, setting up the Virtual Space Red Galería [GalleryNetwork] which, together with artist Marta Calí, created a space of reflection on the ways in which the communications media construct the news from the succession and repetition of images.
Since the doors shut on the 19th arteBA Fair, its team of organizers has already been setting itself the challenge for the next year: arteBA 2011, the 20th anniversary edition of arteBA Contemporary Art Fair, which will take place May 19 through 23, 2011, once again at the fair site of La Rural.