MORE CUBAN ART
The ARCOMadrid Fair was held this year in the Spanish capital from 22nd February- 26th February. ARCO has the privilege that despite not being the Fair in which the highest volume of transactions are made, or the most spectacular works in the contemporary art market are presented—the most expensive painting for sale in that occasion The triumph of Nautilus by Salvador Dali, was valued in 1.4 million euros which cannot be compared to the works for sale in Art Basel or Frieze—, has indeed great attraction for the general public who rely on the choice that the attending galleries will make to follow the trends of the market. And that interest is manifested in the attendance of over 100,000 visitors at the usual exhibition site of the Fair, IFEMA (Fair Institute of Madrid), which makes ARCOMadrid rank first, as the one with the highest number of people attending, among those fairs that are held annually, including even Art Miami (Miami, USA), Art Basel (Basel, Switzerland), ArteBA (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and Contemporary Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey).
Taking into account that every year the contemporary art world witnesses the appearance of countless international fairs, biennials, triennials and other cultural events, it is a great accomplishment for ARCOMadrid to have been able to maintain the public’s preference for 36 years despite the difficulties it has endured, including those derived from the recent crisis of the Spanish economy. The city of Madrid always understood the interest in maintaining this Fair and in boosting it, due to the positive effect it has on tourism, on the image of the city and its great attraction to the public. Besides, it constitutes the best platform that Spanish galleries have to show the most recent works of national artists who are presented every year, as well as of those who already enjoy the favor of both critique and market.
Following the example of the great international fairs that have become recognized marks—Art Basel organizes Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Basel City, a project that starts this year and has chosen the city of Buenos Aires for this edition—, ARCOMadrid opened its first satellite fair, ARCOLisbon in May 2016. It is too soon to know if the success of the Madrid fair could be spread to Lisbon or if this project will be a failure like that of the fairs FIAC LA or Paris Photo Los Angeles, both canceled after two and four editions respectively. However, if the organizing experience and the ability to engage the public can be used and applied, this new ARCOLisbon is likely to be a smart way of approaching the Portuguese speaking countries which up to now do not have a significant presence in the Madrid edition.
In 2017 ARCOMadrid boasted the participation of 200 galleries from 27 countries. Most of these galleries, 167, were included in the General Program. The other 42 were part of the programs organized by the Fair. The participating galleries are selected by the Organizing Committee composed of ten members who represent the Spanish galleries in Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona as well as international galleries in Paris, Lisbon, Sao Paulo and Santa Monica (California). And like in all fairs, in ARCO features an international program for collectors which includes visits to institutions, to private collections and other events for those active collectors who are proposed by the participating galleries and that are chosen by the Organizing Committee.
For Arco 2017 the guest country was Argentina. The opening of the fair coincided with the official visit of the President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, to Spain, and consequently the
Fair was opened by the King and Queen of Spain, which is the tradition, and in this occasion they were joined by the Argentinian President. As it always happens in every official visit, the delegation included entrepreneurs, journalists as well as Argentinian celebrities, which also had an impact on the massive participation of Argentinian collectors and in the promotion ARCO had in this country that is so important for the Latin American art market.
Among the events and exhibits organized as part of the Fair, was the coordinated program Argentina Plataforma / ARCO in which twelve Argentinian galleries participated. Besides, the project Opening was held, in which Spanish as well as international galleries, that have a trajectory of less than seven years, are presented—in this case eighteen were chosen—.
The main interest of this project is to promote new artists and original projects. Another event was the Forum ARCOMadrid, partly focused on the very studied, debated and analyzed issue concerning the art market and the current creativity; and it was within this frame of activities that the report undertaken by Arteinformado was presented to the audience: “100 active collectors of Latin American art. Collected artists, How to collect”. According to this report the main active collectors of Latin-American art, more than half of the total, are concentrated in 4 countries: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. It is interesting to point out that in this report some Cuban collectors are presented among the most active and outstanding in the continent: Jorge Pérez; Rosa y Carlos de la Cruz and Ella Fontanals Cisneros. The Forum also comprised two seminars devoted to the situation of art in Argentina and of course there were the traditional professional meetings only open to specialists of the art world.
Most of the galleries that are presented in ARCO are Spanish. In this occasion the Latin American galleries that were present in the General Program were two from Peru, and the same number from Mexico and Colombia, one gallery from Chile and the rest were Brazilian and Argentinian. For the space Opening, the Cuban gallery El Apartamento was chosen and it presented works by Reynier Leyva Novo, who was very successful with his manipulated historical photos; it also exhibited works by
Even though no Cuban gallery participated in the General Program, Cuban artists were represented at length. The Swiss gallery Peter Kilchmann selected Los Carpinteros for the section Proyectos Especiales (Special Projects) and their sculpture Domo Hexagonal and large format drawings were set in a privileged spot at the entrance to the Fair. Works by Los Carpinteros were also presented in the gallery KOW from Germany. Another Cuban artist that had a prominent place in the Fair was Diango Hernández. Together with the late Argentinian artist Victor Grippo, he was part of the selection made by Alexander and Bonin, a New York gallery, for the Diálogo (Dialogue) program. For this program, three curators had chosen ten galleries from all the world. When they chose the artists, the selected galleries displayed their works in depth. In the case of Hernández, the works displayed were part of a recent series entitled Ley (Law).
In addition, Marlborough Madrid-Barcelona presented a work by Tomás Sánchez within an exhibit that favored Spanish artists. Among other artists there were works by Alexander Arrechea at the Spanish galleries Casado Santapau and La Caja Negra; at Mai 36 Galerie (from Zurich) there were Flavio Garciandía’s works; at Nathalie Obadia there were the works by Ricardo Rodríguez Brey and Wilfredo Prieto was at Nogueras Blanchard.
Lelong Gallery, following the current trend towards the appreciation of concrete art as well as kinetic art and geometric abstraction, chose for its space Zilia Sánchez’s works; and the Lisson Gallery presented works by Carmen Herrera. And what is even more amazing, the Brazilian gallery Dan Galeria brought to Madrid a great number of works by Wilfredo Arcay, Sandú Darié and Salvador Corratgé already exhibited in La isla concreta (The concrete island), an exhibition made the year before in its Sao Paulo seat.
And as it happens in every country where big fairs are organized, using the main one as a justification, countless events and parallel fairs take place. In Madrid, the most interesting one in this occasion, at least for appreciating Cuban art was Art’Madrid Cibeles, which was holding its 12th edition. Thirty six galleries were participating in this Fair, and once again most of them were Spanish. The Fair stood out from the rest because due to its relatively reduced size, the quality of the selection and the way the works were arranged, the public had more time to enjoy the works. And it was in this Fair where the already traditional Cuban gallery Collage Habana and the most recently created Galería Moleiros/ Estudio Arte Contemporáneo were presented. The selection of the latter was focused mainly on paintings, although an installation was included. Ruben Alpízar, Roldan Lauzán, Yamir Izquierdo and Daniel Collazo were the artists included.
In the One Project zone, the Lebanese South Border Gallery chose the Cuban artist Ernesto Rancaño to make a one-man project and exhibited his series Sombras del Ayer (Shadows from yesterday). This space, whose seat is at the cultural center in Beirut, has been gradually specializing in Latin-American art and is particularly committed to Cuban artists, both to those who are well known as well as to those who are new, with the purpose of introducing them into the Lebanese market.
In this occasion the gallery Collage Habana was committed to acclaimed artists who have a market backing, which was evidenced in the success of the sales. In this occasion there were two of Roberto Fabelo’s paintings in a very large format that despite their high price found a buyer since the Fair started. The bronze statue by José Bedia displayed at the entrance of the gallery was a beautiful work that was bought by a collector settled in Italy. And the series of small format drawings by Santiago Rodríguez Olazábal composed a set that drew attention for its excellent make and the coherence of its composition.
And as in Fairs exhibitions are not the only feature, there was a moment in which the best of Cuban art and culture were blended: Kelvis Ochoa’s concert performed at the studio of
Galería Moleiros - Estudio Arte Contemporáneo / Booth in Art'Madrid Cibeles / Ruben Alpízar, Roldan Lauzán, Yamir Izquierdo and Daniel Collazo Courtesy Galería Moleiros
DANIEL R. COLLAZO − From the series Dibujos fotogénicos, 2017 / Charcoal on canvas / 55 x 78¾ inches / Courtesy Galería Moleiros