By Eugenia Bertelè

General Manager of arteBA Foundation, Julia Converti speaks about the Argentinian art market and contemporary cultural scene under the new government; the arrival of Art Basel Cities program: the expectations for the next 27th edition of the arteBA 2018 art Fair in Buenos Aires

At the threshold of the opening of the 27th edition of arteBA art fair in Buenos Aires, which will take place from May 24-27th in the La Rural Pavilions, we talked with Julia Converti, general manager of the arteBA Foundation.
arteBA 2017 - Julia Converti: waiting for the arteBA Fair 2018

arteBA 2017

LL: What is arteBA Foundation evaluation of the art market in Argentina today, after years of restless work? What are its goals in the medium term?  

JC: In 2017 Argentina gained key visibility in the international art map: becoming an “invited country” at ARCO Madrid 2017; The Parthenon of books of Marta Minujín was one of the iconic pieces of the last Documenta in Kassel; the Pacific Standard Time LA/LA in Southern California (Getty Foundation); Inés Katzenstein was named by the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA) first director of the Research Institute Patricia Phelps de Cisneros for the Study of Art of Latin America; Ana Longoni was appointed Director of Public Programs at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid. And of course: Art Basel cities Buenos Aires.
Julia Converti, courtesy Fundación arteBA - Julia Converti: waiting for the arteBA Fair 2018

Julia Converti, courtesy Fundación arteBA

In this context we are undoubtedly ready to inaugurate our 27th edition of the Fair, leveraging on 2017 great results. Balance? Very positive. Goals and challenges for the coming years? Encouragingly great. 27 years of passionate work and activism in the art field can only find their motivation and resolution into an absolute faith in what we have to offer: a very powerful and identified art scene continuously striving to gain its own reputation and willingly to engage in an international, enriching dialogue with the rest of the world.
Tomás Saraceno, Biosphere, 2017, Zoom, courtesy arteBA Fundación - Julia Converti: waiting for the arteBA Fair 2018

Tomás Saraceno, Biosphere, 2017, Zoom, courtesy arteBA Fundación

LL: What is the range of prices currently traded at the fair and what the sales percentage?

JC: Value can swing between amounts higher than USD 100,000 and a minimum of approximately USD 500 available in Barrio Joven section, bringing together galleries and emerging projects from Argentina and Latin America. Historically, we are the only Fair giving place to younger spaces to help them find some visibility allow new ways of collecting. This year we are launching STAGE, with the aim of enhancing young galleries’ proposals in the Main Section: as Barrio Joven it will attract new buyers and collectors. In recent years, sales have been really strong. Museums, active collectors, new buyers, emerging art, contemporary consecrated artists and modern art: the fair combines a wide range of proposals, for different tastes and interests. We bet this edition will be very important thanks to the high quality of offer and, of course, to the enthusiasm of the demand.
Jimena Crocieri, Untitled, 2016, Zmud, courtesy arteBA Fundación - Julia Converti: waiting for the arteBA Fair 2018

Jimena Crocieri, Untitled, 2016, Zmud, courtesy arteBA Fundación

LL: Can you recommend the 10 artists that should not be missed when visiting the 27th edition of arteBA?

JC: I think it is going to be a successful year since all curators have selected special projects mapping current trends. This will surely awake the audiences! It is difficult to pick only 10, but here we go! 1. Sandra Gamarra (Peru): 80 m2 Livia Benavides (Lima) 2. Eduardo Navarro (Argentina): Nara Roesler (San Paolo/New York) 3. Gala Porras Kim (Colombia/USA): Commonwelth and Council (Los Angeles) 4. Jimena Croceri (Argentina); Zmud (Buenos Aires) 5. Patricia Esquivias (Venezuela/Spain): Estrany de la Mota (Barcelona/New York) 6. Nicolás Paris (Colombia): Elba Benitez (Madrid) 7. Diego Bianchi (Argentina): Jocelyn Wolff (Paris) 8. Elisabeth Wild (Austria): Proyectos Ultravioleta (Guatemala) 9. Liliana Maresca (Argentina): Rolf y Vasari (Buenos Aires) 10. Ivana Vollaro (Argentina): Galería Hache (Buenos Aires) 11. Luciana Lamothe (Argentina): Ruth Benzacar (Buenos Aires)
Isla de Ediciones 2017, courtesy arteBA Fundación - Julia Converti: waiting for the arteBA Fair 2018

Isla de Ediciones 2017, courtesy arteBA Fundación

LL: For the first time this year arteBA is launching Zoom, a curated program of art installations that will join the exhibition circuit. What kind of artworks are involved? Are they iconic, large-scale works? Will they be on sale?

JC: Zoom is a new initiative supported by Quinquela Fondos; it features a different artistic concept for the fair: it is made by two projects selected by curator Alejandra Aguado, facing each others. 2 entries; 2 artists; 2 generations; 2 ways of projecting the future through a different way of inhabiting the world. The names behind these projects are Tomás Saraceno and Gyula Kosice.
arteBA 2017, general view - Julia Converti: waiting for the arteBA Fair 2018

arteBA 2017, general view

LL: How Mauricio Macri’s government and policies are supporting the promotion of Argentine art abroad? What do you think about the government’s recent decision to authorize the exportation of up to 15 pieces of national art a year, with no further processing than a notice to the Ministry of Culture?

JC: Public policies affect the local market in a very positive way. The latest regulation helps the circulation of Argentine art by stimulating key factors for its international projection. The new conjuncture will facilitate exchange, participation and international collecting of Argentine art. In recent years, the presence of local galleries at international fairs has increased thanks to the fundamental support of the Investment Agency of Argentina. This shift, together with the growing number of Argentine artists in exhibitions and residences abroad, are key factors encouraging us to continue stimulating and working for greater benefits and facilities in the art scene. Further regulations are on their way and, for sure, will have a very positive impact on the local market.
Diego Bianchi, Bubble Box 1, 2018, sculpture, Jocelyne Wolff, courtesy arteBA Foundation - Julia Converti: waiting for the arteBA Fair 2018

Diego Bianchi, Bubble Box 1, 2018, sculpture, Jocelyne Wolff, courtesy arteBA Foundation

LL: 2017 hosted the first global edition of the Art Basel Cities initiative, of which the arteBA Foundation is a Partner; and the Art Basel Cities week, curated by Cecilia Alemani, is now expected in September 2018. The arteBA Focus/District of the Arts platform seems to work in the very same direction. What domino effect do you expect for the art scene in Argentina?

JC: Art Basel Cities Buenos Aires program is undoubtedly another of the highlights of this moment. In November 2017, starting from a strategic alliance with the City of Buenos Aires, we worked together with Basel for the first step of the program. In this phase, more than 140 guests from abroad visited the city to join an exclusive agenda of events and activities connecting them to the local scene. The program was carried out within the framework of arteBA Focus, a new experimental platform we organized with the Ministry of Culture of the City. For its 2018 edition, arteBA Focus will renew its contents in partnership with Meridiano (Argentinean Association of galleries): the underlying idea is to offer a new event format (within the framework of Art Basel Cities) able to offer –like Gallery weekend –an artistic experience through three different areas of the city: Retiro/ Recoleta; Palermo/Villa Crespo; District of the Arts. These partnerships can really challenge the established, old working models and help us creating disrupting new proposals!
Gyula Kosice, Hábitats Hidroespaciales en la Constelación de Irina, 2009, Zoom, courtesy arteBA Fundación - Julia Converti: waiting for the arteBA Fair 2018

Gyula Kosice, Hábitats Hidroespaciales en la Constelación de Irina, 2009, Zoom, courtesy arteBA Fundación

LL: For its 25th anniversary, arteBA Foundation decided to create a magazine focused on documenting and spreading the contemporary art scene in Argentina. What has been the success of this initiative so far?

JC: arteBA Magazine is one of the last initiatives of our Foundation. It is a very important project sharing with the audience a selection of the current local artistic production, in Argentina and abroad. It reviews Argentine art exhibited in commercial galleries, foundations, museums and local and international events. During the 27th edition of the fair we are going to present the 5th issue of the magazine– which counts with a luxury, selected editorial board (Agustín Pérez Rubio and Leticia Obeid) and is dedicated to the work of women artists.

LL: arteBA stands out for the level of its acquisition and for its international programs positioning Argentine art. Can you mention some emblematic works of Argentine art that have been acquired by leading international institutions in recent years?

We developed our acquisition programs for local and international museums with the support of companies and private patrons; they have been key in recent years to enhance museum collections and spread the Argentine art all over the world. Each year, more than 20 museums buy new artworks. Museums such as Reina Sofía in Madrid, Guggenheim in New York, Tate Modern in London, Mali in Lima, LACMA in Los Angeles, MACBA in Barcelona have incorporated pieces by Liliana Maresca, Mirtha Dermisache, Magdalena Jitrik, Fernanda Laguna, David Lamelas, Ana Gallardo, Marta Minujín among many others. We’ll see how many artists will join the heritage of participating museums this year.
Review arteBA 2018 Exhibitors List, Exhibitors List arteBA 2018.

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