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The 2005 calendar for contemporary art fairs began on the 27th January with the St´art in Strasburg and the Arte Fiera 2005, in Bologna. However, the first great event in the art market this year is expected in Madrid, where, on the 10th February, ARCO´05 opens, lasting till the 14th.
The 24th edition of ARCO, the international contemporary art fair of Madrid, counts with the presence of 290 galleries from 35 countries. The biggest contingent of galleries comes from Europe (230), with Germany at the top, taking part with 28 stands, followed by France with 18, then Portugal and Italy, both with 15 galleries. Although with a lower number of galleries present, America has a very strong participation, mostly from Latin America. Apart from the large presence of Mexican galleries representations from Argentina, Chile, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Brazil will also be at the fair. North America takes part with 23 galleries from the United States and nine Canadians.
This year's ARCO Special Guest Country is Mexico, making it the first Latin American country occupying this position. The program, curated by Carlos Ashida and Julian Zugazagoitia, intends to offer collectors a complete panorama of Mexican contemporary art. Covering it's most emblematic names, like the surrealist painter Leonora Carrington, Alfredo Castañeda, or Pedro Coronel; through names connected to the Rupturistas generation, like Manuel Felguérez and Fernando Garcia Ponce; until the last expressions in new media, for example the videos from the series Animales Vitales, by Claudia Fernández. To develop this work the curators selected 17 galleries that cover different moments of Mexican Contemporary Art History, ranging from the historic Arte Mexicano and Juan Martin Galleries until the most recent projects, like Nina Menocal Gallery. Simultaneous to ARCO´05 several shows on contemporary Mexican art can be seen in different institutions around Madrid.
Intending to offer a multidisciplinary fusion, the artistic program of ARCO´05 lays on several curated projects. Arco Latino and 2OSLO5 are geographically conceived and aim to bring a sample of the recent artistic developments from Latin America and Norway to ARCO.
Project Rooms, The Black Box@Arco and New Territories are three other commissioned projects that complement each other. Each one is orientated towards the most innovative expressions in comtemporary art, both in its theme and media. Project Rooms is defined as the space for experimentation par excellence, by both established and emerging artists; works by 32 artists from 11 countries take part in it. The Black Box@Arco is dedicated to artistic production using new technologies. New Territories is a section that has already taken place at ARCO in previous years, although under different names. ARCO´05 is repeating it with the same spirit of "exploring and disseminating the most innovative, emerging art being produced today on the different international art scenes"(ARCO´05).
In balance with the above projects is Painting Only, curated by Brian Müller, director of Contemporary Magazine. For this project he collaborated with four London-based galleries specializing in painting: Rove, Houldsworth Gallery, Program and Domobaal.

Text:Paula Januario

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