Over 120,000 people, 18,000 square meters, 5 days. These are some of the figures that belong to what according to specialized critics and media was the best edition of arteBA Contemporary Art Fair. This edition was a clear sample of an event that combines the highest exhibition quality, a significant flux of visitors and a remarkable success in sales.

arteBA has just closed its 17th edition and has definitely established itself as an annual meeting point for curators, critics, directors of museums and other institutions, gallery owners and Latin American artists. arteBA also works as a trigger for a number of shows, events, exhibitions and acquisitions that take place all year round through the whole region.

arteBA’ 08 received more than 300 foreign guests: important collectors and patrons, directors and curators of collections and international museums, critics and representatives of the most influential institutions in the field of visual arts.

 The Fair’s undeniable protagonists were art galleries, which showed the highest quality and daring art projects. For the first time, an important number of foreign galleries participated, mainly from Latin America, offering a wide panorama of the best of contemporary visual arts in the region.

One of the highlights of the Fair was the Auditorium Program with Cuauhtemoc Medina who coordinated the first three round tables, and Rosa Olivares who was responsible for the Program’s closing table. In these round tables, that attracted a large audience, curators from Argentina and abroad engaged in powerful debates:
Tanya Barson [Internacional Art Curator, Tate Modern, London, England]; Luis E. Pérez Oramas [Curator, Estrellita Brodsky Latin American Art, MoMA, New York, USA]; Lynn Zelevansky [Curator and Chair of Contemporary Art Department, LACMA, Los Angeles, USA]; Marcelo Araujo [Director, Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo, Brazil]; Inés Katzenstein [Director, Art Department, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires]; Adam Lerner [Executive Director, The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar, Denver, USA]; Ruth Sibaja [Executive Director, San José, Costa Rica]; Rodrigo Quijano [Curator, member of La Culpable, Lima, Peru]; Oscar Muñoz [Director, Lugar a dudas, Cali, Colombia]; Osvaldo Sánchez [Director, Museum of Modern Art, Mexico DF, Mexico]; Marta Gili [Director, Jeu de Paume Musée, Paris, France]; Hans-Michael Herzog [Director and Curator, Daros-Latin America, Zurich, Swiss]; Gabriela Rangel (Director of Visual Arts, Americas Society, New York); and artists Fernanda Laguna, Marta Minujín and Judi Werthein. The Auditorium Program was sponsored by UADE, Exportar Foundation, CCEBA and ADN.

Barrio Joven Chandon (Chandon Young Neighborhood) was simply unprecedented: 19 spaces with a clear bet towards originality, risk and search for experimentality without leaving the market aside; the 9 spaces that belonged to the project Black Box, White Cube, a video-art space sponsored by Converse, showed the best of a language that is becoming widely used; the second edition of OPEN SPACE, a space devoted to large format works and installations, and arteBA-Petrobras Visual Arts Award, inspiring increasing debates and controversy. In its fifth edition, under the direction of Fabián Lebenglik, “Autocine Guzmán” by Mauro Guzmán was awarded the First Acquisition Prize ($30,000)of the fifth edition of arteBA-Petrobras Visual Arts Award, while the Second Prize, non-acquisition ($10,000), was awarded to “Quehue” by Marisa Rubio. The awards’ beneficiaries were decided once the artists had finished the in situ installation of the works. As a novelty for this edition all the country’s museums were simultaneously appointed in order to decide which one would exhibit the awarded artwork, and theMuseo Provincial de Bellas Artes Emilio E. Caraffa from Córdoba was the one chosen.  In an unprecedented way, this Award makes possible that the first prize artwork be a part of the exhibition circuit of Argentinean Contemporary Art.   

High Impact works were chosen for the Tribute to Great Masters, sponsored by Banco Galicia, devoted to artists Gyula Kosice (1924), Enio Iommi (1926) and Clorindo Testa (1923).  Tribute was paid to the creativity and talent of three vanguard artists who built up a set of art works essential to the history of Argentinean Modern Art and whose activity has not at all ceased but continues with plenty of energy.  Forerunners and protagonists of the first modern vanguard movements, far from melting in the identity of such groups, they revealed themselves as heirs to a typically Argentinean attitude: that intellectual indiscipline which makes individuals outstand on their own individuality.

The first edition of the “Under Construction” Award was launched.  A Jury of Collectors and Aficionados, coordinated by Roxana Sucari and Alejandro Ikonikoff, has awarded Giancarlo Scaglia (Revolver Gallery, Peru) the First Prize with the amount of U$D 2,500, and  José Ignacio Pfaffen ( Cultura Pasajera Gallery, Rosario, Argentina) for the Second Prize (U$D 1.500). This “Under Construction”  was established by Juan Cambiaso who created a trusteeship with the necessary funds for this award, and Chandon, prestigious promoter of contemporary artistic production and new trends, joined this initiative.

CHANDON presented Malcom McLaren as a special guest. English artist and musician, well known for being the manager of the Sex Pistols and a designer along with Vivianne Westwood, visited arteBA and showed some of his new “musical paintings”, works especially created for their presentation in ArtBasel`08.

Prior to arteBA08’s opening, the fourth edition of Matching Funds arteBA-Zurich Program started. This program is a vital resource that helps three important museums to increase their collections with artworks selected at the Fair. The Castagnino + Macro Museum (Rosario) chose works by Anne Marie Heinrich: El Relo (The Clock)j, 1946, Copy 1/10, silver gelatin, 57 x 48 cm; La Luna (The Moon), 1935, Copy 1/10, silver gelatin, 54 x 48 cm and Grete Stern’s, Autorretrato con flor (Self Portrait with a Flower), 1935, Copy 93, silver gelatin, 31 x 39,5 cm. These three works belonged to Vasari Gallery. The National Museum of Fine Arts in Neuquen chose a piece by Alejandro Puente Sin Tìtulo (Untitled), oil on canvas, 71 x 80cm, and another piece by Ernesto Deira, Sin Título (Untitled), 1966, ink on paper, 34.5 x 42.5cm. Both art pieces were exhibited at GC Gallery. Malba-Fundación Costantini chose a piece by Oscar Bony, Submarino Amarillo (Yellow Submarine), 1965, 1/5 VHS 16mm video, exhibited at Zavaleta Lab Gallery.

It is worth mentioning that during arteBA08, the Museum of Art in Lima (MALI) acquired, due to the contribution of Sergio Quattrini, the work “Pinta Estéreo” by artist José Carlos Martinat exhibited at Leme Gallery, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

For the second consecutive year, the Program “American Express / + arte para el bellas artes” (more Art for the Fine Arts Museum) was put in motion with the goal to increase the Museum’s collection. The chosen work was Marginality & Displacements, 3 (2002), by César Paternosto, exhibited at Jorge Mara Gallery. The decision was taken by a Selection Committee: Mrs. .Adriana Rosenberg, Director, Proa Foundation and Mr. Sergio Baur, Attaché of Cultural Affairs, Argentinean Foreign Office –both members of the Board of the National Museum of Fine Arts (MNBA).

For the first time, Toyota participated in arteBA as its official car; the company presented an interesting institutional stand. Once again a digital art show was carried out at ARNET’s space; MacStation showed the awarded artworks of the Digital Paradigm Prize; and the press room of  Proa Foundation –intervened by artist Alejandro Puente- was one of the highlights of the Fair. For the firs time, the public had the opportunity to use the audio-guide service provided by LAN, through different circuits that let them approach the creative expressions of Latin American artists.

At the time the Fair was coming to an end, arteBA’s staff was already planning the new challenge for the next edition: arteBA09 will take place between May 22 and 26 at La Rural, Buenos Aires.

+ images of arteBA'08

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