Harper's Bazaar (India) - - BAZAAR ESCAPE -

Bo­gotá might not spring to mind when ex­plor­ing the in­ter­na­tional art cir­cuit, but a decade of ArtBo—the In­ter­na­tional Art Fair of Bo­gotá— has driven and strength­ened the con­tem­po­rary art mar­ket, and what once may have looked like a risqué pit stop is now a dy­namic hub for emerg­ing cre­atives. Ma­teo Lopez, Car­los Ro­jas, Beatriz Gon­za­lez, and Elsa Zam­brano are among the ris­ing stars lur­ing cu­ra­tors, col­lec­tors, and deal­ers from all cor­ners of the globe.

“The art scene in Bo­gotá has dras­ti­cally changed, thanks to our grow­ing econ­omy and the rapid de­vel­op­ment of our coun­try, es­pe­cially in terms of se­cu­rity and in­creas­ing so­ciopo­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity,” says Daniela Sanchez, a lead­ing gal­lerist. “And then there’s the de­vel­op­ment of the new Bo­gotá Art Dis­trict, a mar­riage be­tween the evo­lu­tion of a for­lorn neigh­bour­hood and the amal­ga­ma­tion of gal­leries, in­sti­tu­tions, pri­vate col­lec­tions, and artist homes and stu­dios.”

Vis­i­tors are spoilt for choice, with the con­tents of more than 60 art gal­leries and 58 mu­se­ums to ab­sorb, in­clud­ing the Valen­zuela Klen­ner Gallery, Ga­le­ria Casas Rieg­ner, Museo Botero, and Museo de Art Mod­ern de Bo­gotá. Just walk­ing be­tween th­ese venues be­comes an ex­hibit en plein air, where a vi­brant street art scene tells the story of a city emerg­ing from the shad­ows of mil­i­tary rule and guer­rilla at­tacks. The Gold Mu­seum is an ab­so­lute must—part of the col­lec­tion was ex­hib­ited ear­lier this year at the Bri­tish Mu­seum.

Never one to miss a trick, W Ho­tels opened a Colom­bian out­post in De­cem­ber last year, in north­ern Bo­gotá’s fash­ion­able Usaquen Dis­trict, just steps away from the neigh­bour­hood’s hip restau­rants, cafés, and shops. After a day of artis­tic ex­plo­rations, this strik­ing gold-in­fused co­coon on the out­skirts of the city, which nods to the legend of El Do­rado, or ‘The Lost City of Gold’, of­fers a haven to un­wind. Con­tact: W Ho­tel, Bo­gotá, Colom­bia: tel: +571 746 7111; www.who­

Clock­wise from top: An aerial view of Bo­gotá; the Arch­bish­opric Cathe­dral of Bo­gotá; an ex­hibit at Gold Mu­seum; street art.

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