See the Top 10 Booths at ARCOMadrid 2017
Here are the highlights of an outstanding edition, with the Argentina section stealing the show.
“Things are moving at a speed I don’t remember since before the crisis!” enthused Madrid-based dealer Elba Benítez as she dashed across her booth, referring to the perky business taking place across the aisles of ARCOMadrid 2017 during the first hours of the preview on Wednesday.
It’s well known that ARCO is usually not a fast fair, with sales taking place at a leisurely pace throughout its five days, including (the generally sluggish) Sunday. Yet, something about its 36th edition feels definitely different, and exciting.
Gathering 200 galleries from 27 countries, the quality of the booths seems impressively high across the board. The works on offer are overall less predictable in terms of media, with many pieces challenging the ubiquitous two-dimensionality of other years (painting, drawing, and photography), and many booths embracing vivid colors in both works and walls, also creating a pre-economic downturn mood of sorts (no Brexit and Trump blues here).
Many were curious to see what would happen after ARCO’s bombastic 35th edition, in which many blue chip galleries were invited to participate (with booths free of charge) and turned the mid-market Madrid fair into a major league affair, with the participation of Marian Goodman, Victoria Miro, and Fortes Vilaça, among 32 others.
But some have been happy to return this year under new conditions, including Lisson Gallery, Jan Mot, and Sprüth Magers.
This year, the curated sections are the ones that steal the show. The section dedicated to Argentina, this year’s guest country, makes an art scene unknown for most seem like an exciting and dynamic realm worth investing time (and money) in.
Dialogues, a new section dedicated to two-artist presentations curated by María de Corral, Lorena Martínez de Corral, and Catalina Lozano, has yielded some of the best displays of the edition. Opening, meanwhile, the younger section, presents some very exciting young galleries that are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
If you are looking for a shortcut, see below the 10 booths at the fair that you really shouldn’t miss.
1. Ellen de Bruijne PROJECTS, Amsterdam
Part of the Dialogues section, the Amsterdam gallery hits the spot with a fabulous joint presentation by duo Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz and Falke Pisano, with prices ranging from €4,500 to €45,000.
Boudry & Lorenz’s I want (2015) is a double channel video in which artist Sharon Hayes embodies, by turns, whistleblower Chelsea Manning and cult writer Kathy Acker, soundtracked by Berlin-based musician Planningtorock. The result is an incredibly timely piece that deals with the transgression of identities, both in terms of gender and politics.
Meanwhile, Pisano’s 2013 installation The Body in Crisis, Prison Work, explores the privatization of American prisons and the impact that these new neoliberal penitentiary models are having on inmates and society at large.
Designed by Argentinian-born Minoliti, the booth functions as sort of esoteric doll house, exploring feminine figures confined to domestic interiors and escaping through the fancies of their imaginations.
Moulton is presenting the 2016 iteration of her ongoing video series Whispering Pines, several collages, and three standing sculptures, with prices ranging from $3,000 to $10,000.
Meanwhile, Minoliti brings a generous assortment of recent paintings—with prices ranging between €2,500 to €15,000—which manage to appropriate and re-invent the typically male schools of Surrealist and Metaphysical painting.
3. Jan Mot, Brussels, and Sprüth Magers, London, Berlin, Los Angeles
Also part of the Dialogues section, Jan Mot and Sprüth Magers have staged a double conversation: between the two galleries, and between the artist David Lamelas and the writer and filmmaker Marguerite Duras.
In Lamela’s Interview with Marguerite Duras (1970-2014), the Argentinean artist gives an in-depth and multimedia portrait of Duras, via a 16mm film and a series of black and white photos of her, accompanied by texts.
4. Galeria Madragoa, Lisboa
Lisbon’s young gallery Madragoa continues its unstoppable rise. Fresh from winning one the prizes at Mexico’s ZONA MACO with its presentation of Rodrigo Hernández’s work, the gallery is debuting at ARCO with a hilarious booth in the Opening section.
With the project Smile, You Are in Spain Studio Part II (with Part 1 currently on view at the gallery), the young Portuguese artist Luís Lázaro Matos has created an immersive installation that riffs on national clichés and tourism, mixing them with architectural inquiry.
With Lázaro Matos actually producing works on paper in situ throughout the duration of the fair, in Smile..., performance meets architecture, and Joan Miró meets Edvard Munch‘s The Scream in a piece that’s much more than just satire.
Madragoa’s founder and director, Matteo Consonni told artnet News that the gallery will also attend LISTE this year, with a shared booth by Lázaro Matos and Hernández. For a gallery that has been open for less than a year, things seem to be looking quite peachy.
5. Ignacio Liprandi, Buenos Aires
At the Argentina section, Buenos Aires’ gallery Ignacio Liprandi brought a two-person presentation—a recurrent theme across the fair, beyond Dialogues—featuring Cecilia Szalkowicz and Pablo Accinelli.
Szalkowicz convinces with her elegant cluster of untitled works of Modernist and Surrealist tones. These include a screen formed by the Situationist maxim “détournement” and an ongoing series of photographs featuring evolving configurations of objects, as if creating a vocabulary.
But perhaps Szalkowicz most beguiling piece is her almost-slapstick “coughing sculpture” (also untitled), a seemingly minimal white sculpture on a black plinth that coughs every once in a while, both rendering the object alive and revealing the artist behind it.
6. Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, London, New York, Los Angeles, Somerset
The international powerhouse hasn’t participated in ARCO since 2009 (not even in its most “blue chip” iteration last year), so it came as a surprise to find Hauser & Wirth’s imposing booth in the fair’s general section, with pieces by a number of leading female artists on its roster, including Louise Bourgeois, Lee Lozano, Phyllida Barlow, Anna Maria Maiolino, and Roni Horn (with a price range between $50,000 and $1,200,000).
“Eight years after our last participation in the fair, we thought it’d be important for us, not only for the Spanish market, but also for its strong links with Latin America. We represent a lot of Latin American artists, and many of our artists have had important exhibition at Spanish institutions. ARCO has a great collectors program, but also many museum directors and curators visit the fair, and those are type of conversations that we are looking to have,” Susie Guzman, gallery director in New York, told artnet News at the fair.
But with ARCO famously known as a mid-market fair, is there space here for top tier pieces by leading artists that cost well into the six figures?
“I think so,” Guzman told artnet News. “There’s always space for high quality, which may have higher prices, but people react to good quality, and we needed to bring work that would be representative of what we do.”
Guzman was right: by the end of the first day, a large piece by Louise Bourgeois and a painting by Guillermo Kuitca had been sold, and the fantastic Lee Lozano painting presiding the booth had gone to a museum (Lozano is subject of major retrospective at Museo Reina Sofía opening this coming May).
7. Lisson Gallery, London, Milan, New York
Another heavyweight is making a comeback. Lisson did participate in ARCO’s 35th edition, and results must have been encouraging enough to return this year.
The booth is classic Lisson: Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, Tony Cragg, Angela de la Cruz, Tony Oursler, Jason Martin, Ryan Gander, and Jorinde Voigt were all present in a booth that was absolutely crammed with people from the get-go.
8. MaisterraValbuena, Madrid
MaisterraValbuena, playing in home turf, is presenting an eye-catching booth featuring a large number of gallery artists, with prices ranging from €3,200 to €38,000.
These run the gamut from the rediscovered Basque sculptor María Luisa Fernández to hot emerging artist Daniel Jacoby, as well as roster staples like Maria Loboda, Regina de Miguel, B Wurtz, Néstor Sanmiguel Diest, and Antonio Ballester Moreno.
The gallery—which is also about to launch a second space in Lisbon, with its grand opening slated to coincide with the second edition of ARCO Lisboa in May—has also started representing Jerónimo Elespe, a fascinating artist working across painting and drawing, sometimes in incredible miniatures that reward close inspection.
9. Marta Cervera, Madrid
Madrid’s Galeria Marta Cervera is presenting a booth in which female artists steal the show: the sculptures of Ludovica Carbotta and Leonor Serrano Rivas complement the wall-based works of Patricia Treib and Ruth Root, all exploring questions of architectural spaces, domestic interiors, and rhythm with a textural approach that evidences the hand of the artist.
10. Isla Flotante, Buenos Aires
Back at the Argentina section, Isla Flotante, one of the most exciting young galleries in Buenos Aires, has staged a two-person presentation of gallery artists Leticia Obeid and Mariela Scafati.
Scafati is presenting a large-scale installation of monochrome canvases suspended by bondage ropes over found furniture, while Obeid has brought works on paper and a film exploring Simón Bolívar’s 1815 Jamaica Letter, in which he outlined his ideas for a united Latin America.
“The contemporary art scene in Argentina is going through a great moment since the announcement that the first iteration of Art Basel Cities would take place in Buenos Aires,” Leopol Mones Cazon, the gallery director, told artnet News.
While not a fair in itself, Art Basel Cities, slated to take place in November, will generate a series of programs and events across the city, and will lend its reputed networks of contacts to local initiatives.
“The good thing about the Argentinian scene is that it is very DIY, and most artists are self-taught, rather than professionalized at art schools, so they are very reactive and very intuitive, and there’s a lot of freshness that comes with that,” Mariano Mayer, an Argentinian curator based in Madrid told artnet News.
This freshness definitely showed across the booths of the Argentina section and, with a host of off-site exhibitions and events exploring art from Argentina scattered all across the city, there’s never a better a moment to get familiar with an art scene that—after Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia—might be the next big thing coming from Latin America.
The 2017 edition of ARCOMadrid runs from February 22-26, 2017.
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