Oil billionaire John Paul Getty famously installed a payphone in his Surrey mansion to prevent guests from making long distance calls. Yet he spent millions of dollars on art, and millions more to build the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The Getty now receives around 1.5 million visitors a year and in September last year, had its first exhibit of Argentine photography. The exhibit, which was part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, an exploration of Latin American art in dialogue with Los Angeles, is currently showing at Fundacion Proa.
For an artist, having a museum or any public institution acquire their work, or receiving awards during a public event such as arteBA provides immediate exposure, giving them access to a wide public while providing a springboard, an impulse to keep creating great work and a bold statement on their curriculum.
So who were the young stars of arteBA 2018? We take a look at a few of them.
Fátima Pecci Carou won the prize for best artist in Barrio Joven (Young Section – for emerging artists) for her beautiful and ironic depictions of women seated within their place in the home. The Japanese Ninja-style cartoon characters, camouflaged under the mask of stereotypical femininity, represent apprentices of geisha or warriors, within the frame of a classic painting.
Within the context of arteBA’s Museum Acquisition program, Mariella Scafatti’s Caballetes (Easels) was purchased by Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum while PPink was purchased for the Guggenheim via curator Pablo Leon de Barro. Scafatti and her gallery Isla Flotante made headlines in December when she was pre-selected as a possible candidate for BMW’s art journey at Art Basel in Miami. The acquisition is a further stamp of approval, both in recognition of her work and the the avant-garde gallery’s belief in the importance of working with young committed artists.
Private businesses like hotels, with a constant flow of visitors, give artists a unique opportunity to have their work exposed. Such is the case of artist Elena Dahn, whose video “Cámara,” was acquired by Melia Recoleta. The hotel, whose owners have a collection of video art, also added to its collection Lia Chaia’s “Faces“, one of the most instagrammed videos of the fair, from Sao Paulo’s Vermelho gallery.
The complete list of institutional acquisitions during ArteBA 2018 can be found here.
In little more than three months, Argentine and international artists will have another opportunity to communicate their art throughout the city with the support of one of the most recognized contemporary art platforms in the world. Make a note in your diary for Art Basel Cities’ “Hopscotch,” taking place from September 6-12. The English translation of Argentine writer Julio Cortazar’s novel “Rayuela,” in which the reader is invited to jump from chapter to chapter, Hopscotch will offer a treasure hunt of pop-ups and performances scattered around the city, encouraging the public to go on an artistic journey of a kind they have not previously experienced anywhere.
Hopscotch is the brainchild of Cecilia Alemani, also responsible for the public art program on New York’s Highline, the elevated (and formerly disused) railway tracks in lower Manhattan transformed in 2009 into one of the city’s most loved urban promenades and a retreat into nature above the chaos of the city’s streets.
Art Basel is one of the world’s leading contemporary art fairs. Based in Switzerland with annual art fairs in Basel (June), Hong Kong (March), and Miami (December), Art Basel selected Buenos Aires as the first partner for the Art Basel Cities program. A soft launch took place in November 2017 in the form of a weekend of talks and activities led by leading figures of the contemporary art world in a beautifully restored mansion in Basavilbaso street in Retiro. Open to the public – anyone could walk through the door during the three-day event – it still felt quite exclusive, and not surprisingly, as only those lucky enough to be on the mailing list seemed to know about it. This September’s event will be a much more public affair with Art Basel’s creativity, international expertise, and networking capacity matched with a strong local government commitment.
During the Open Forum conversations at this year’s arteBA, Buenos Aires Minister for Culture Enrique Avogardo spoke with Art Basel’s Patrick Foret about the importance of combining private and public funding to fuel art initiatives in public spaces with Avogardo announcing positive changes in government policy to incentivize private investment in the arts. Receiving Art Basel with open arms and a providing creative team from the government to collaborate on the Art Basel Cities project is not only giving the city’s art scene more international exposure, it will highlight to the local community several of the city’s forgotten architectural gems and points of nature. With her experience bringing art to the New York’s Highline, it’s not surprising that Alemani has found inspiration in the Ecological Reserve in Puerto Madero and La Boca’s riverbanks.
International and local artists who have been invited to create and install artworks during September’s art week include Eduardo Basualdo, Pia Camil, Maurizio Cattelan, Gabriel Chaile, Alex Da Corte, Santiago de Paoli, David Horvitz, Leandro Katz, Barbara Kruger, Luciana Lamothe, Ad Minoliti, Eduardo Navarro, Mika Rottenberg, Mariela Scafati, Vivian Suter, and Stan VanDerBeek. Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan will create a temporary home for tombstones to rival Recoleta’s world famous cemetery. Entitled ‘Eternity,’ Cattelan’s temporary Palermo-based graveyard will be created for the living. Through an open call, artists and fans are invited to participate in this project designing and creating tombstones for people (real or imaginary) who are still alive.
Learn more about the collaboration to boost Buenos Aires’ cultural ecosystem – artists, galleries, not-for-profit spaces, and public institutions here.
To see more about arteBA’s 2018 acquisitions program, check here.
Art Basel Cities Hopscotch | Different spaces throughout the city | September 6 to 12 | More info