Buenos Aires Photo Diary
Published May 28, 2009
Day 1:A show by Argentine photographers Jorge Miño and Christian Bordes opened at the Ernesto Catena Contemporary Photography Gallery in the hip Palermo Viejo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. In Bordes’s series of works titled “Intimate Dimensions,” he plays between fiction and documentary style photography, an eerie dialogue between the place, the atmosphere and the objects within the context of the scene. Miño’s photographs, on the other hand, work not with what’s in the photo but with what’s not in the photo: His enormous photographs capture places that appear like a world without survivors. It was a fabulous-looking crowd, with many people—like this young Chilean artist we met (pictured)—having just arrived for the first day of ArteBA. (LEFT: SCULPTURE AT ERNESTO CATENA GALLERY)
Day 2: Argentine artist Luis Fernando Benedit showed us around his exhibition at MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, aka Fundación Costantini). Benedit, who was a trained architect, was one of the first conceptual artists in Argentina, and in a career spanning fifty years, he has produced work that aims at creating a social language and at being a means to learn more about human beings and social conditions. His drawings, paintings, objects and installations are often visual social criticisms of his country and Latin America. (LEFT: INK AND GRAPHITE SERIES, AGUPACION BAIGORITTA)
(L.F. Benedit, Silla A, made of cow and horse bones, L.F. Benedit with drawing on paper titled Autorretrato)
ArteBA Art Fair, Part I: As a non-profit organization, ArteBA happily welcomes non-buyers to the fair, and this year a sea of 120,000 visitors—mostly Spanish speaking—entered the La Rural Stadium and Exhibition Hall, opposite the Opera Pampa in uptown Buenos Aires. Families, couples, and hip-looking twenty-somethings came in to weave through the booths—including the work of approximately 800 Latin American artists from 90 galleries primarily from South America. Overall, the fair felt more relaxed than other fairs in the contemporary art circuit (this could be the Latin thing), more like a well-curated exhibition of Latin American art than an art fair.
Teenagers with PoMo haircuts convened in the graffiti-adorned Chandon Winery-sponsored Barrio Joven (translated as “young neighborhood”), where 20 galleries, chosen by a selection committee, displayed work ranging from advertising graphics to illustration, street art, installation and multimedia art. Approximately one-fifth of the airy L-shaped exhibition spaced was made up by the Barrio Joven, and about $10,000 in award money was given out to the most promising young artists and galleries.
The winner of the second edition of the “Under Construction” prize for young artists was 18-year-old photographer Juan Cruz Coronado; second place went to art collective “Salames al Futuro” (who were embroidering their work throughout the fair) (LEFT); third place went to Chilean gallery Trafifix for an installation depicting an art party road trip (RIGHT).
We heard from a fabulously-dressed associate curator at MALBA that one of Buenos Aires’s coolest (in a bohemian way) galleries was having an exhibition. We wound up at show at artist/gallerist Emiliano Miliyo’s hidden garden apartment on a quiet street in San Telmo, titled “P.H” and featuring works by Diego Bianchi, Leandro Erlich, Marcelo Gutman (LEFT), Miliyo himself and others.
Day 3: ArteBA Fair Part II
At Dabbah Torrejón Gallery, the installation “How Does it Feel?” by Avello Sergio was front and center. Well, we definitely felt good, though we’re not sure how the gallery director was feeling because at that point only a few works had been sold. Red dots were few and far between at the fair this year (no doubt a result of the economic climate), however overall gallerists were upbeat, perhaps because in attendance were some major curators and collectors (including including Ella Fontanals-Cisneros; Anibal Jozami; Eduardo F. Costantini; Julieta Gonzalez, curator of Latin American art at Tate Modern; Carmen Ramírez; Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; and Alberto de la Cruz, son of Rosa de la Cruz, among others).
Food Art: After a morning at the fair, we wound up at boutique Hotel Moreno, in San Telmo for some molecular gastronomy, Argentine-style. Executive chef Dante Liporace, formerly a chef at Ferran Adria’s famed El Bulli restaurant in Spain, put together an exquisite meal of interesting textures and complex but delicate flavors, a far cry from the typical Argentine parilla (offering meat, meat, and more meat).
Day 4: ArteBA Fair Part III
One of our favorite discoveries at the fair this year was young gallerist Anita Jorquiera Stagno, from Santiago, Chile. Anita hung works by local graffiti artists on an exterior wall of the booth of her mother’s more upmarket gallery Ana Maria Stagno/AMS Marlborough (that had a Francis Bacon painting front and center, which, might we add, was not for sale; huh?). At Anita’s gallery, Salon Tudor, works go for between $500 to $2000.
A few of the graffiti artists were in attendance, two pictured here.
At Teresa Anchorena Gallery, the work by Milo Lockett was flying off the walls. Lockett, who has been the highest seller at the past two ArteBA fairs, is like a Richard Prince of Argentina—part visual genius, part status symbol. As one new Argentine art friend pointed out to us, Lockett has become “too establishment,” and for the bohemia anti-establishment art community in Buenos Aires, that means excommunication. Nonetheless, Lockett’s distinct acrylic and ink works—unframed prints, sculptures and wood block paintings—were selling for $1,000–$4,000 a pop.
Special thanks to LAN airlines.