Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that arteBA 2019 is up and running since yesterday at the La Rural expo center in Palermo. For its 28th edition, Argentina’s largest contemporary art fair brings together some 400 artists, represented by more than 80 galleries from more than 25 cities in the world, and will offer a new program of talks and complementary activities that will expand the reference framework of local production with outstanding presences of the art scene from different latitudes.
At The Bubble we have been hard at work on the event and put together a comprehensive guide to arteBA 2019 to make it a little easier for you to navigate. But such a massive undertaking requires to dig in much, much more.
We managed to speak with eight of the leading movers and shakers at the fair’s pre-opening event and asked them a simple, all encompassing question: what is it that makes arteBA the most important four days in Argentina’s art scene? Not only that, but we brought our camera with us and made a bunch of really cool portraits in the process.
All photos were taken by Lautaro Sourigues. To learn more about Lautaro’s work, visit his Instagram account.
Mercedes Corte – Executive Manager, arteBA Fundación
“For me [arteBA] is a tool that allows me to work on the impact of the local art scene. I like that about arteBA, as we work a lot with collaborations, with creating bonds. We build international bridges with the local scene. From that place, arteBA is an agglutinating tool. Being a foundation allows for several licenses that maybe fairs with other characteristics could not achieve. For example, in our case, rather than having a focus put on our own institution per se, we have the focus placed on the general art scene. We are a market platform in which all the players in the industry can coexist, be it artists, gallerists, curators, museums or institutions. It’s an impactful platform that works to bring together these different parts.”
Ariel Sigal – Future VP, arteBA 2020
“arteBA has become perhaps the most important week for contemporary art, not only in Buenos Aires but also in Argentina, and has an increasing regional impact as well. This week, some of the most important collectors and curators from the international scene are gathered in Buenos Aires together with artists, collectors and gallerists from all over the country. Apart from the commercial point of view (this is the week that most art is sold in the year) for many galleries this is a critical week that in some way marks and defines what the performance of the rest of year will be like. It is a week where the international art scene congregates in Buenos Aires.”
Camila Charask – Director of Meridiano, Argentine Chamber of Contemporary Art Galleries
“For our Chamber, that brings together 51 galleries from Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario, arteBA is very relevant. With its 28 years of existence it has become a great promotional platform for the art market. I believe that part its relevance is that in the timeframe of a week, clients, collectors, and the general public can meet to visit and explore the wide range of proposals that galleries and the artists have. By being also a foundation and having an annual magazine, it helps with the internationalization of Argentine art. I think that the role of arteBA is fundamental because after nearly 30 years, it has become very well-known and it rings in the the commercial year for all the galleries in the country. Fairs are a nodal space for marketing, visibility, and education.”
Carlos Herrera – Artist and Artistic Director, MUNAR
“For me the importance of the fair has different levels. One is that it’s the first one that has managed to shed a light on a lot of Argentine artists for the international scene to meet. It is one of the objectives of the fair, and one in which it has worked the most in its strategy, incorporating international galleries that come to Argentina for every edition. As a result, many Argentine artists have been able to exhibit their work abroad. There is also an institutional part to the work, in which the fair negotiates to bring international curators, directors of museums, and members of acquisition boards. This is what makes arteBA the sales market that it has become. It is not a biennial of an exhibit, it’s a fair for galleries. In this sense, they have always worked with that objective in mind and have not been distracted or distorted the foundational concept of the fair. I think that is the most important thing, to have preserved a mission year after year, and to have grown inside that mission. Developing an idea amidst the Argentine economy’s ups and down is not easy. Many foundations end up ditching their original when times go awry. But arteBA has managed to sustain a concept. That gives it credibility and allows everyone to bet on it.”
Laura Escobar – Designer and Graphic Editor, arteBA
“arteBA is the only art fair of its kind that exists in this country, which definitely favors the art scene and the exchange between artists and an audience that may not be that in touch with exhibits and art exhibitions all year long. I think it’s very favorable for the scene and all the people who work inside of it. It brings local art in contact with the international scene and also achieves links between regions inside of Argentina. The fair has become an important platform for young talent to be discovered as well. In some way, being the only fair legitimizes some spaces that are more out of the commercial circuit.”
Carlos Huffmann – Director of the Art Department, Torcuato Di Tella University
“arteBA lends a lot of visibility to the visual arts in this city and quite possibly the whole country. It builds an idea of what the art scene is that is quite vital. I think the event same has a negative side in the sense that is that it would seem that what happens in the visual arts scene happens only during arteBA and it’s really a vibrant scene that is active throughout the year. Galleries are exhibiting art every month. This is an interesting discussion that is taking place right now regarding the specific place occupied by arteBA and how to better communicate the scene outside these five days. It is important to understand that there is a very intense activity surrounding the fair and that the visual arts are not something that occurs only in arteBA. Nevertheless, arteBA has obviously generated growth in the industry and an increase in the visibility of the visual arts and that is something that grows and grows every year.”
Ro Zorraquín – Artist
“I think arteBA is a bridge between artists, collectors, the general public, international galleries, curators. It serves as a bridge so that all these people can relate in a specific space and time.”
Gabriel Chaile – Artist
“The importance of arteBA is related to the art market. It is very important: the circulation of what we call art, that when you think about it is also a commodity. Artists need to sustain their projects, and the way to sustain it has to do with the economic part of the business. arteBA is the biggest art event in relation to that in Argentina, meaning it is very important for artists. arteBA has taken on the task of monitoring the national artistic production. Although I must say that this is also a job that the State should be more active in, that of caring for the symbolic goods that have to do with culture. arteBA creates networks, brings artists from an international level and, above all, it stregthens bonds at the federal level, incorporating artists from provinces other than Buenos Aires (Gabriel is from Tucumán).”