ARCOmadrid, the veritable nexus around which the art world congregates each year, is celebrating its 35th Anniversary from 24 to 28 February 2016. To celebrate this symbolic milestone, a project is being developed that will involve many of the leading figures who have contributed to the fair over the course of its history. The last 35 years has seen the development not only of ARCOmadrid but also the Spanish art scene.
Central to the 2016 show will be the gallery section, curated by María de Corral, in collaboration with Catalina Lozano and Aaron Moulton. Here, 35 galleries from across the globe will be given a two-artist booth where they can pick two artists to show side-by-side the represents the past and future of their respective galleries.
One of the first art fairs that encouraged a dialogue between artists and the international art circuit, ARCOmadrid has become a key calendar event, where critics, curators and museum directors are able to discuss projects and debate ideas. LUXOS spoke to Carlos Urroz, director of ARCOmadrid since 2011, for a rundown on this year’s event.
LUXOS: How has ARCOmadrid changed over the years?
Carlos Urroz: Due to the Spanish crisis, the fair has been transformed into a smaller-scale event where you can discover high quality works by new and emerging artists, of particular interest to collectors and art critics. We have promoted our bonds with Latin America and with the city of Madrid.
Why was Colombia chosen as guest country for ARCOmadrid 2015?
The decision is always an agreement between IFEMA (where the fair is held), the Fair Committee and the proposed country. Colombia is now one of the key art creators worldwide. Commissioned by Juan A. Gaitán, ten Colombian galleries exhibited a selection of new and very interesting artists. The country is growing in terms of galleries and art events such as the important ARTBO art fair in Bogota.
Graham Wilson: Gloomy Sunday, 2015
How will ARCOmadrid 2016 be different from the previous fairs?
In 2016 the fair will celebrate its 35th Anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, we are working on an innovative project. It will focus on inviting 35 galleries from around the world, selected by a prestigious team of curators. The programme aims at providing an overview of the last 35 years of international contemporary art and its future through an open dialogue between the fair's past and present.
What does the future look like for ARCOmadrid?
ARCOmadrid has a great future ahead. We will continue working on offering the best quality and attracting better galleries and collectors. We want it to be a fair for discovering new and emerging artists. On the other hand the ARCO Foundation will continue to explore contemporary art culture as well as developing activities to promote collecting.
Estenopeicas Rurales / Family Barreto Bonilla - San Luis de Ocoa 2015, triptych, argentic photographies in black and white from pinehole camera, Courtesy of the artist and the Dohyang Lee Gallery
Several new international art fairs have appeared recently, what do you think of this? How does this affect ARCOmadrid?
Each fair must be loyal to its essence and by being different they will be able to create a market. Competition is a source of creativity.
Which Spanish artists should our readers keep an eye on?
I would recommend any of the works exhibited at ARCOmadrid, as the piece has passed three different filters: the artist is selected by the gallery, the gallery is selected by ARCO, and lastly, the gallery chooses only their finest works for the fair.
How are the collectors invited?
Galleries suggest a list of clients, and ARCOmadrid makes a selection from these, adding other collectors contacted through other fairs or by means of the worldwide Collectors Link platform.
Could you tell us about the ARCOmadrid Collectors’ Program?
The Program gives VIP access to the fair. Collectors can tour the fair with the main curators, and they can take part in art conferences; they also have VIP access to museums, galleries and private collections.
Last but not least, Carlos, do you have some leisure time recommendations for visitors to Madrid?
All our recommendations are included in our annual publication provided as part of our Collectors VIP Program, which includes restaurants such as Diverxo, Dstage, Platea, Velázquez 17, El Paraguas or Kabuki Wellington, or bars as, Cock, Chicote or the Dry Cosmopolitan Bar. ARCOmadrid is held between the 24 - 28 February at the Feria de Madrid www.ifema.es