As we have come to expect in the month of February, galleries, collectors and other players from the contemporary art world will be travelling to Madrid for ARCOmadrid_ 2010, the 29th edition of the International Contemporary Art Fair from February 17th through 21st. Given its growing influence, this annual fair is now one of the world’s major art market events. Around two hundred galleries and almost three thousand top drawer artists will make the fair a good mirror of the latest tendencies in contemporary art. The work on view will undoubtedly reflect the existing plethora of languages, supports and expression, ranging from painting to performance, not forgetting sculpture, installation, digital art and more emerging creative expressions.
The fair gets the 2010 season of the international circuit off to a start, against an economic backdrop that is beginning to see tentative signs of recovery in the art market. According to the experts, one can already detect greater signs of optimism than one might have expected. As the ArtTactic consultants reported in their latest survey on confidence in the art market, while in December 2008 there was a sharp decline of 81%, at the current moment “the drop in the contemporary art market looks like ending before initially forecast”. According to the consultants, this change could materialise in the next two years.
Without abandoning the moderate and measured approach it adopted last year, ARCOmadrid_ 2010 will face the challenges of the moment and give collectors and other players a chance to discover the best new art from Spain and worldwide. Together with the galleries exhibiting in the core General Programme, the art fair also lends a spotlight to groundbreaking art in its various programmes: Solo Projects, Expanded Box, CinemaLoop and Performing ARCO. These curated sections feature projects coming from around thirty different countries, while also reinforcing the fair as a showcase for the best and most cutting-edge contemporary art.
Los Angeles, 21st century metropolis
Besides, in 2010, for the very first time, ARCOmadrid’s special invited guest is the US city of Los Angeles, one of the art world’s most exciting capitals. This is the beginning of a number of editions of the fair that will bring to Madrid the very best of what’s happening in contemporary art worldwide, focusing not only on countries as it has done up until now, but also on the world’s major regions or urban centres. With a selection of 17 galleries, curated by Kris Kuramitsu and Christopher Miles, the visiting public can see the latest art being created in one of the world’s great cities. “As a city for art, Los Angeles has been defined many ways, sometimes underscoring one particular generation or group, a specific style or look, one school or another”, the curators explained. In point of truth, and as we will see at ARCOmadrid_ 2010, “this 21st century metropolis has an artistic culture with a huge cross-generational wealth, largely thanks to its influential position over the last few decades, its network of private art school and academies, as well as the art departments in public and private universities”.
The public will be given an overview in the Panorama: Los Angeles section with a sample of artists and galleries who will be showing “a huge variety of works in terms of technique, genre and leaning”, as the curators point out. Works created by “artists coming from different generations, backgrounds and fame” in a selection that is primarily looking for “vitality in all its forms and trying to be as faithful as possible to the idea of offering a panorama of the ci ty”, despite the fact that L.A. “constantly surprises us and that it is impossible to come up with any totalising viewpoint”, explained Kuramitsu and Miles.
Another cornerstone of ARCOmadrid_ 2010’s innovation is its curated programmes: SOLO PROJECTS, EXPANDED BOX, CINEMALoop and PERFORMING ARCO which feature the latest trends in art.
For the third year running, performance art has its own space, sponsored by Mango, at ARCOmadrid, the International Contemporary Art Fair. The programme of PERFORMING ARCO, chosen by its artistic advisor Javier Duero, gives the visiting public a chance to contemplate various live performances and catch up with happening tendencies in live art taking place on the Spanish and international scene.
Meanwhile, the SOLO PROJECTS programme will be showcasing the diversity of contemporary art with around 30 projects reflecting emerging trends in art today. This selection of solo shows in this section was made by a team of nine experts: Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, freelance curator, Brazil; Juan de Nieves, freelance curator, Spain; Sergio Edelsztein, director of The Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv; Iván López Munuera, critic and freelance curator, Madrid; Shamim M. Momin, Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Adriano Pedrosa, freelance curator, writer and editor, Brazil; Susanne Neubauer, freelance curator, Germany; Maria Inés Rodríguez, chief curator at MUSAC (León) and editor of Point d’Ironie, Paris, France; and Olesya Turkina, critic and exhibition curator, and Senior Research Fellow at the Russian State Museum in St Petersburg, Russia.
Another of the exciting curated programmes this year is CINEMALoop, a section dedicated exclusively to video art with a selection made by the freelance curator, Carolina Grau. Starting a new policy of collaboration with other fairs, ARCOmadrid_ 2010 is working with LOOP, the International Video Art Fair and Festival in Barcelona, to ensure exciting work from leading artists working with video. To this end, the curator Paul Young is commissioned, along with Carolina Grau, with a selection of videos and artists who have taken part at LOOP, as well as other video works from galleries exhibiting at ARCOmadrid plus works proposed by the curators themselves, which will screened during the fair.
The final curated section Expanded Box, sponsored by BEEP_Data logic, is specialised in art and new technologies, which continues its support for the unstoppable process of expansion of art practices towards new formats and contexts. ARCOmadrid’s own particular “black box” is once again a space set aside for multi-format installations, curated by art critic and independent curator, Domenico Quaranta.
The final piece in the art fair is the section ARCO Instituciones, aimed at publicising the work of public and private organisations actively supporting the art world through collecting. Moreover, visitors have a space for art publications, especially contemporary art, as part of Art Publishers and Magazines.
In parallel with all these sections and programmes is the annual Experts Forum, now in its eight year, which brings together artists, collectors, critics, curators, theorists and other players in the art world to discuss issues on interest. The forum rounds off ARCOmadrid_ 2010, the International Contemporary Art Fair, a must visit event for anyone seriously interested in discovering the latest in contemporary art.