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arteBA 2019: The Contemporary Art Lover’s Dream Fair

The annual contemporary art fair returns to Buenos Aires this April.

By | [email protected] | March 20, 2019 12:59pm


From April 11th to 14th, arteBA is back to once again to present the 28th edition of its annual contemporary art fair. Founded in 1991, the event is simultaneously a gallery for broke art lovers and the city’s biggest spending opportunity for collectors. Whether you’re on the lookout for the next Damien Hirst or just want to admire some aesthetically pleasing color combinations and flirt with a brooding artist – don’t we all? – this fair is the place to find the most cutting-edge talent of the contemporary art community.

As is custom, arteBA will take place at Palermo’s La Rural expo center, where over 400 artists, representing 80 galleries from over 25 cities in the world will be setting up exhibitions of their latest work. The long weekend will also involve a range of talks and activities for visitors to get involved in.

In addition to selling to potential collectors and curators, the fair is aimed at elevating the local art scene and raising awareness of the exceptional quality and originality of work that artists in Buenos Aires and Latin America produce. Given that last year’s fair saw record attendance of over 80,000 people, it’s expected that the exciting variety of this year’s global line-up and the ever-growing interest in the Argentine art scene will draw an even greater crowd.

This year, arteBA organizers have renovated the layout of the fair to lend greater autonomy and identity to each individual artist. Both the main Pabellón Azul and the smaller Pabellón de Equinos at La Rural will be divided into multiple private booths that you can wander in and out of at liberty. The idea is to create the sense that you’re entering the personal gallery of a specific artist. Furthermore, all of these booths are grouped within a collection, each of which has been selected by a different committee of curators to creatively impact the way you view the art.

I know, I know – private booths within collections within what? Let’s break it down a little further.

The five main collections at the fair will be found in the Pabellón Azul. These are the Main Section, Stage Irsa, Cabinet, Solo Show Zurich, curated by José Luis Blondet a collector at LACMA, Los Angeles, and Cardinal Site, the new international section of arteBA. Here, you’ll find contemporary paintings, photography, videos, sculpture, and conceptual art from up-and-coming artists from countries including Spain, Chile, South Africa, Colombia, Belgium, and Brazil; plus a whole load of art critic types mingling among the canvases.

Jorge Mara’s work will be on show at the fair, Image via arteBA

In the Pabellón de Equinos the Utopia collection of galleries, another new feature of this year’s arteBA, will be set up. This architecturally stunning pavilion will be transformed into a dynamic exhibiting space dedicated to a selection of young artists who will only have applied for the first time this year to be included in the fair. The aim of this area is to reinforce the idea that fairs such as arteBA can act as a door into the art world for young enthusiasts, new collectors, and the public in general.

Also found in this area will be Isla de Ediciones, the publications section of the fair where you’ll find guest editorial projects, a bookshop section specialized in contemporary art (aka, coffee table book heaven), and a collective space for independent publishing companies. Additionally, the Isla de Ediciones has its own auditorium with scheduled talks and book presentations. Be sure the daily schedule to find what may interest you.

Artist – Santiago Paredes, Located in UTOPIA area, (Image via ArteBA)

arteBA certainly transforms the entirety of La Rural into a cool, artsy maze; and, if wandering past canvases of abstract minimalism for several hours pretending you’re Amélie is your thing, then be my guest, mon amie. But if you’re looking for a bit more direction for your day at the fair then we’d definitely recommend taking a look at the event’s official website in advance to begin building a wish list of the artists you most want to see. You’ll find a full breakdown of the main galleries, who to find and where, and more on why certain artists have been grouped together. Hopefully it helps to prolong you getting lost as long as possible. Suerte! 

Likewise, if you’re chic enough to be purchasing pieces while at the fair – let’s be friends? – it’s worth remembering to note down both the booth number and gallery of your desired artwork. It can be difficult to find your way back to specific areas, so just snapping a photo of whatever it is that caught your fancy could lead to upset when you have no idea how to relocate it.

The global attention on this year’s festival is yet another sign of the city’s growing status as a cultural destination of choice. We’re moving up people! In September 2018, Buenos Aires became the first city to partner with Switzerland’s Art Basel Cities, a powerhouse organization in the contemporary art world. This unique relationship involves a multiyear program of initiatives that celebrate the city’s thriving cultural ecosystem, and work to bridge the gap between local art communities and the international art world’s elite. In fact, in conjunction with arteBA, Art Basel Cities will be running a Semana del Arte, a series of performances, films, guided tours, talks, exhibitions all across Buenos Aires, just in case you want to get even more arty.

Additionally, the relaxation of export restrictions since January 2018 has meant that Argentina’s art and creativity has never been so accessible to buyers from across the globe. This means that come April you can expect a fair few European art hipsters and critics to be mingling in the crowd at arteBA. Telltale signs include socks and Birkenstocks, describing art as “sublime,” analog film cameras, and polonecks. Always someone in a poloneck.

Full list of contributing artists and galleries (Image via ArteBA)

arteBA will be on everyday from Thursday, April 11th until Sunday, April 14th at La Rural. The fair will open between 2 PM and 9 PM. Buy your entry passes in advance here.

arteBA 2019 | La Rural – Av. Sarmiento 2704 | AR $200