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ARCOmadrid opens today to the public, on view through February 25. With presentations from over 200 international galleries and a special focus on guest country Argentina this year, Whitewall caught up with the fair’s director Carlos Urroz to hear about what else to watch for at the 2017 edition.
WHITEWALL: This year, Argentina Plataforma is the guest country of ARCOmadrid. What should we be looking for from this focus? How does programming around a guest country add to the success of ARCOmadrid each year?
CARLOS URROZ: Argentina has an incredible contemporary art scene and it’s one of the most active art markets in Latin America. As ARCOmadrid’s 2017 guest country, it will have a total of 12 galleries selected by Inés Katzenstein, director and founder of the Art Department of the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires. In addition, Madrid will host a range of exhibitions under the curatorship of the independent curator Sonia Becce.
Argentina truly has such a high caliber of artists, many of whom have been at ARCOmadrid in the past, such as Alberto Greco, Guillermo Kuitca, Leandro Erlich, Jorge Macchi, Graciela Sacco, Adrián Villar Rojas, Amalia Pica and Pablo Bronstein. In addition to the more established artists, ARCO will also feature a new generation of contemporary artists like Adriana Bustos, Pablo Acinelli, Diego Bianchi, Osias Yanov, Luis Pazos, Ana Sacerdote. The contemporary art coming out of Argentina is fantastic and deserves a wider platform.
By selecting a guest country (almost) every year, we are extending an invitation to both participants and visitors to explore and discover different art scenes from around the world in more in depth.
WW: Last year, you oversaw the expansion of ARCO to Portugal with ARCOlisboa. What has that expansion meant for the fair?
CU: ARCOlisboa was a tremendous success. We considered Lisbon to be our best option as a city to expand to, as it is a place where people want to be, and Portugal is welcoming an increasingly dynamic, diverse and international market.
WW: A third of the fair this year will focus on solo or two artist presentations. Why do you think this has been a trend for global art fairs?
CU: The Solo/Duo presentation offers visitors and collectors the opportunity to get to know selected artists better and this has to do with the fact that ARCO is a discovery fair. Its main intention is to focus on quality and to develop as platform for professionals and collectors to discover new talent and work.
WW: ARCOmadrid has a program that fosters discovery of new talents and work. Who are some of the emerging galleries and artists names we should know?
CU: One of the things I love most about ARCO is the fact that it’s designed for discovery. The Opening section, for example, offers a real opportunity to explore carefully selected emerging artists from emerging galleries. It focuses on galleries with a track record of a maximum of seven years, and showcases emerging artists and galleries such as El Apartamento, Cuba; Pedro Alfacinha, Portugal; and Drop City, UK. This section has established a reputation of being a space of discovery for emerging artists and young galleries. This year’s edition is curated by Juan Canela, founder and curator of the BAR project in Barcelona, and Stefanie Hessler, co-founder of Andquestionmark in Stockholm and curator at TBA21 in Vienna. Together, they have selected 18 galleries from all over the world to present booths of one or two artists in the section.