A Global Stage for Latin American Contemporary Art
Contemporary art in Latin America has become a dominant force in the global market. The effervescence experienced in the region has captivated the gaze of artists, art galleries, buyers, curators, and art critics from all over the world. Above all, the biennials, art fairs, and art auctions have become the primary meeting places.
Before the pandemia, contemporary art fairs were cultural promotion scenarios with great economic potential. Their participating process had the power to spread internationally; therefore, they have been extraordinarily selective with demanding requirements. Art gallery owners, artists, and critics must join strategically in favor of art and take advantage of their events to make themselves known. It is also the means to highlight the importance of putting aside some collectors' traditionalist views in the United States and Europe.
In the last decade, art fairs have grown and had dedicated effort to explore new contemporary artistic expressions. In addition to Art Basel in Miami Beach, we find Zona Maco in Mexico City, Artbo in Bogotá, and the Biennales de São Paulo in Brazil, as the most anticipated meetings in the American continent.
Beginning in 1970 in Basel, Switzerland, the famous Art Basel has had extraordinary growth over the years. It is not just a fair but a cultural movement of modern and contemporary art. It is presented along with other western art fairs like TEFAT, Frieze Art Fair, and ARCO. Art Basel’s success drew the attention of many countries, with a high percentage of exhibitors coming from Latin America. As a result, in 2002, the fair organizers chose Miami Beach as the second venue for it. Nowadays, Miami Beach is the link between North America and South America; a prosperous tourist destination with an impact on artistic activities.
In the 2018 and 2019 Basel editions, Cuban artists such as Dalton Gata, represented by the Agustina Ferreyra art gallery, presented artworks in the sections "Positions", "Kabinett", and "Meridians". The exhibit was curated by the Mexican Magalí Arriola, director of the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. Several Latin women artists exhibited their artworks: Bolivian Donna Huanca; Chilean Cecilia Vicuña; Colombian Doris Salcedo; and Argentinians Graciela Hasper and Marie Orensanz.
Mexico has a rich history and culture, with a recognized contribution to modern art; from famous artists like Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Rufino Tamayo, José Clemente Orozco, to Alfaro Siqueiros. With its unique cultural heritage, art appreciation is common, and there is an eagerness to promote new original art expressions. In fact, Zona Maco is the largest art and design platform held in Latin America. It opened for the first time in the city of Monterrey.
Zona Maco has become an international event held each year in Mexico City, encompassing the plastic arts, antiques, photography, and an exclusive pavilion for design. There are also limited exhibits of furniture, jewelry, textiles, and decorative items. In 2019 it received hundreds of contemporary art galleries worldwide. Influential curators, such as José Esparza Chong, in charge of the "New Proposals" section, and Kiki Mazzucchelli, originally from Brazil, gave a "performative" idea approach to space "Zona Maco Sur".
Contemporary Art Market
The art market is a complex phenomenon through which an original artwork acquires specific aesthetic, artistic, and economic attributes. In addition to auctions, art fairs are the agents that preserve the "cultural innovation system" in Latin America. Some countries like Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Peru, and Cuba are producing artists with a new vision for art. These new expressions are of interest to a growing number of international art collectors looking for contemporary art with new inspiration. These art expressions provide the collectors with the quality and the price point necessary to buy original art with high valuation potential with new and daring schemes.
The art market born in Latin America has expanded to collectors and critics worldwide thanks to the art fairs. New online art galleries, and auctions allow these agents to experiment and invest. Not only are the great masters such as Fernando Botero, Wifredo Lam, and Diego Rivera in demand; space is also going to the emerging artists leading the artistic and cultural changes of the XXI century. With political, economic, and social changes occurring around them and with the advent of new technologies, these artists have built links between countries and nurtured the "cultural innovation system". Through original artworks, installations, and performances, these emerging artists have also made Latin America a secure place on the global stage; one of the most significant accomplishments for the art market.
by María Fernanda Serrano Prida