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outubro 22, 2010

Latin American artists put on strong show during Frieze week por Charlotte Burns, The Art Newspaper

Matéria de Charlotte Burns originalmente publicada no The Art Newspaper em 13 de outubro de 2010

Seven galleries from South and Central America at the main fair as interest in region’s art grows

While Europe and the US are still licking their wounds from the downturn, the energetic scene in Latin America is “charming the pants off the international art world,” says New York gallerist and blogger Edward Winkleman. Last month the Pompidou Centre created a Latin American acquisitions committee, while the Lyon Biennale appointed an Argentinean curator, Victoria Noorthoorn, for its 2011 edition. The Istanbul Biennale will be co-curated by Brazilian Adriano Pedrosa, while the Arco art fair in Madrid has announced a three-year focus on Latin American galleries.

Even London, not particularly known for its Latin American links, has been struck by the fiesta feel: seven Latin American galleries are showing here at Frieze, including Fortes Vilaça (E8) with Los Carpinteros’ Reading Room, 2010 (priced €125,000). Latin American artists are on show across the fair: Marian Goodman’s Gabriel Orozco display (F16) includes Right Couple, 2010, at $20,000, Richard Ingleby (E17) is showing works by newly signed artist Iran do Espírito Santo, including Red Bulb 2, 2009, for $15,000, while the Deutsche Bank lounge has a dedicated Orozco display.

Slow build

Outside the fair, smokers can stub out cigarettes on Gabriel Kuri’s Frieze project commission—ashtrays; while Mexican artist Damián Ortega—whose installation Alma Mater, 2008, is at Kurimanzutto (D4) for $160,000—opens a new commission at the Barbican this Friday and Stephen Friedman (D5) has a Beatriz Milhazes exhibition in its London space.

“There’s a long tradition of important art in Latin America that we’ve only just begun to digest. It’s been a slow build, rather than a hot trend,” says gallerist Marc Foxx (B6), showing Argentinean artist Amalia Pica. The artist, who says there is a “huge internal and external dialogue right now,” is also showing Unintentional Monument, 2010, at Amsterdam gallery Diana Stigter (F25), priced between €4,000 and €7,000, and Dialogue (Paper and Mountain), 2010, for €7,000.

“The art has always been fantastic, but the market has caught up now,” says Frieze co-director Matthew Slotover.

“Museum curators and acquisition committees are going after art production—and there is no way you can ignore the lower end of the Americas nowadays,” says Eliana Finkelstein, from Galeria Vermelho (H8), where Rosângela Rennó’s Venetian Tour Scrapbook, 2009-10, is on show at £9,600.

Pilar Corrias (G14) is showing works by Brazilian artist Tunga in her gallery, including Untitled, 2008, for $75,000. Corrias says: “The economy is booming, there is a rich history of contemporary art, and the art market is becoming much more active.”

London’s hub status

More democratic politics have helped drive the dialogue, too. “Latin America has a tradition of producing art, but it was dimmed by conflicting governments. There is now a more established government, economy and society—which is reflected in the interest in the art,” says Rodrigo Editore from Brazil’s Casa Triângulo (F26), where works include Mariana Palma’s Untitled, 2010, for $35,000.

London seems an unlikely place to sell Latin American art—Britain has fewer historical links with South America than some other territories—but gallerists say interest is growing. “It’s getting better every year. London is a hub,” says Marcio Botner, director of Rio-based gallery A Gentil Carioca (E13), where the artist Lourival Cuquinha will stage a performance, The Jack Pound Financial Art Project, today at 3pm.

“London is one of our biggest collecting bases. People are starting to realise how influential the artists there have been,” says Alison Jacques (D17), whose booth features Lygia Clark sculptures from 1959 to 1964, priced between €180,000 and €460,000, as well as wall-based Hélio Oiticica studies from 1957-59, priced between €80,000 and €150,000. Kate MacGarry (E11)—showing Tiago Carneiro Da Cunha in her London gallery, priced from £3,500 to £10,000—says there are now lots of collectors in Europe and America that are exploring the scene.

Some of the greatest activity is coming from Brazil, where the economy is predicted to grow by 7% this year. More money means more galleries can show at fairs abroad, collectors can influence the market and curators and artists are in better positions to promote the work. “With a more globalised art community, Latin American curators and critics [are taking] up key positions in museums, biennials and galleries in traditional art capitals,” says Silas Marti, critic at Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo.

Back to the 60s

“It’s not an explosion [but] a growing, honest interest—which is much more healthy,” says São Paulo collector Jay Khalifeh.

The interest isn’t without historical precedent, says Isobel Whitelegg, director of curating at the Chelsea College of Art. “There was a real surge of interest around Latin American art in the 1960s. Lots of artists moved abroad because of political difficulties, and opened up new dialogues. That story needs to be amplified.”

Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, director of the Cisneros Foundation, agrees, but says: “The scale has changed—there is so much more interaction between the different sectors now—it has built up and is much more solid now.”

Perhaps the greatest incentive has been museum interest. “What’s more important than the economy is the international recognition of our artists,” says Brazilian gallerist Luisa Strina (F14), who founded her gallery in 1974 and is exhibiting at Frieze for the seventh time with works including Mateo Lopez’s Changing Matter, 2010, for $20,000.

Museums collecting

Collector Anibal Jozami, who is on the new Pompidou acquisitions board, agrees: “Museums started to realise that their collections were not complete without our art.”

The Tate is one of the biggest drivers. It has staged shows including Cildo Meireles in 2008 and will open a Gabriel Orozco exhibition, on tour from MoMA, next January. A quarter of all works in the Tate collection made by artists born after 1985 are from Latin America—more than North America (24%). Now in its eighth year, the Tate’s Latin American acquisitions committee is one of the world’s largest, numbering over 40 members. “We wanted a broader view of contemporary art—but how do you begin? Latin America made a lot of sense because there is a history of ties with Europe and North America,” says Tate curator Tanya Barson.

Posted by Fábio Tremonte at 2:16 PM