The 28th edition of arteBA 2019, Argentina’s flagship contemporary arts fair, officially opens this afternoon at La Rural expo center in Palermo, and there is more than ever to ogle and fantasize about purchasing. Renowned for curating some of the world’s most eclectic contemporary art and bringing it to the good people of Buenos Aires, arteBA is without a doubt one of the largest and most important cultural events to take place in Argentina.
What’s more, the fair is especially unique because it’s truly accessible to all types of people; admission is AR $250 (discounted to AR $125 for students and senior citizens!) and you’ll understand the talks and events hosted, even if you never got that degree in Art History.
This year’s lineup is jam-packed with talks, special events, and yes, booth after booth filled with seriously strange and aesthetically pleasing contemporary art. The Bubble is here to help decipher the many goings-on, to ensure that you don’t miss out on a single thing.
The Art Itself
The layout of this year’s fair has been reimagined to place an emphasis on each individual artist’s vision and style. Pavilions are divided into many different booths that weave in and out of each other—walking into one can make you feel as if you’re walking into an entirely new world. Our official piece of advice is to begin by wandering the Pabellón Azul, the main pavilion, and stop to enjoy whatever is interesting to you. Then, make your way over to Pabellón de Equinos, where you can meander through Utopia, which features up-and-coming artists. We used this technique and stumbled upon some of our favorites.
However, it would be a disservice to not steer you toward one particular piece. Towards the back of the Pabellón Azul lies Stage IRSA, which showcases work from galleries that work with young artists that have been around for less than five years. We, along with many others, were struck by an installation from UV Estudios, a Villa Crespo gallery, by the the porteño artist duo Lola y Lauti.
Their piece features nine real live humans dressed in entirely in yellow, including cute little hats, taking a nap under a quilt that looks like a sunny-side up egg. They looked surprisingly peaceful for people lying on a bare floor while strangers ate sushi and started at them (they had sushi at the pre-opening, but don’t think it’ll be at the real thing—sorry, journalist perks!) and would occasionally yawn and stretch. We don’t know which aspect of society this is making a comment on, but we are really, really here for it. Shoot us an Insta DM if you figure out the significance of it. It’s at booth S7.
Right at the entrance of Pabellón Azul lies Colombian artist María José Arjona’s stunning installation Línea de vida, which features hundreds of glass bottles suspended from the ceiling by what can only be described as fairy gossamer dental floss. This on its own is exciting enough, but José Arjona is scheduled for a performance during which she will lie beneath her bottles and move her body slightly, creating sounds that will last for hours and will be reminiscent of “rain, ocean waves, and river currents.” Man, I love art.
It’s easy to get lost in the maze of canvases and well-dressed, hyper-chic guests. If you’re looking for a bit of guidance, consider joining in on a tour led by art critic and curator Laura Batkis. She’ll be leading six different tours daily, all with a unique focus. The tours given at 4 PM are especially appealing to us—they’ll feature an artist or a collector as a special guest, to lend a second perspective.
If you’re craving a bit of arts education with your arts appreciation, you’re in luck. Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires and arteBA teamed up to create a seriously exhaustive calendar of lectures and chats.
There are two types of talks: Masterclasses, which are intended for art professionals and university students, and Parallel Rooms, which are more informal and function as conversations. All are free and open to the general republic.
Highlights include “Masterclass VI: What the Future Holds for Art and Technology,” which will bring together five members of the Berlin Future Forum, (why is it that anything with the word “Berlin” automatically sounds cool?) to discuss recent developments at the intersection of art and technology. This is a chance to hear perspectives from all over the world—panelists are from four different countries—on the future of contemporary art. The talk will be conducted in both English and Spanish.
Masterclass VI: What the Future Holds for Art and Technology | Parque Semana del Arte | April 14 | 5 PM – 6:30 PM
All Parallel Room talks will take place on Saturday afternoon, over the course of three different sessions. During each session, four different rooms will hold four different discussions on related topics. For example, during “Session 2: Art in the Public Sphere,” one room will discuss art as a vessel for social and political issues, while another will talk about how to make contemporary art accessible to more people. Attendees are encouraged to move freely from room to room. This is probably the festival’s best opportunity to pick the brains of curators and artists, and should not be missed.
Parallel Room Talks | arteBA 2019 – Pista Central | April 13 | 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
To read full descriptions of all Masterclasses and Parallel Rooms, check out this handy PDF.
For the kids
Aw, Buenos Aires, you’re so kid-friendly! (Come on, this city is home to Kidapalooza. Not many places rope off entire sections of music festivals for kids.) Seriously, how many world-class art fairs have a section entirely dedicated to children?
This section of arteBA goes above-and-beyond the usual crayons and construction paper. Take bratty kids you nanny, or like, your actual children, to the “light laboratory” where they can experiment with shadows, colors, and project their movements in real time. This sounds like so much fun. Why isn’t this in the grown-ups section? They should put it right next to the fried-egg people.
There is lots more to discover at arteBA, and you could, and probably should, spend hours finding these things. So go forth and enjoy—we’ll be here trying to figure out how to get employed as one of those people lying underneath the egg quilt.