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Latin American presence in Art Basel

Posted on June - 20 - 2018

Credits: My Switzerland

It’s that time of the year where Europe is blossoming, and art lovers are buzzing with what they saw in last weeks, Art Basel. From Wednesday 13th of June to the 17th, the city of Basel in Switzerland was the home of the worldwide phenomenon eponymous fair.

Opening its doors to the international art world community, Art Basel showcased the work of over 4,000 artists presented by 290 of the world’s leading art galleries.  This year among the high number of participants, the Latin American region was underrepresented with most of the galleries coming from Brazil. Still among the varied selections two big names from Mexico’s contemporary art scene where exhibiting their best artists including the ever-present kurimanzutto gallery with works of Mexicans Abraham Cruzvillegas, Gabriel Kuri and Gabriel Orozco and OMR with Mexican artists Jorge Méndez Blake and Gabriel Rico.

Galería OMR Booth. Courtesy: OMR

From South America, besides the dominant presence of Brazilian galleries, the Colombian gallery Casas Riegner following its mission of representing Colombian artists into the international market presented works by some of Colombia’s best artists. Mateo López, Antonio Caro, and Beatriz González never fail to impress the international fairgoers and represent Colombia and South America’s talents, as they did in this edition of Art Basel.

Although originally from San Gimignano in Italy, the ambitious agenda of Galeria Continua has led them to open spaces in other countries such as Hong Kong, France and more recently in La Habana, Cuba. Among international artists under their representation such as Anish Kapoor, the gallery exhibited artworks by contemporary Cuban artists Carlos Garaicoa and José Yaque.

As part of the fairs different segments, Statements presented the works of emerging artists that were eligible for the Baloise Art Price. Among the 18 young selected artists was Mexican-American ektor garcia and Basel-based Mexican artist Rodrigo Hernández.

As prices soared to auctions amounts for works by Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchel and Philip Guston (estimated $14M), sales went on silently, with works of Latin American artists not attracting big sums like their European counterparts.

As the week went by with various events, artists talks and the usual paraphernalia that surrounds this awaited event, some galleries were absent, such as Alexander and Bonin, that decided to pull out at the last moment. Could it be that investing in fairs is no longer fruitful for some galleries?

By: Maria José Escobar

Kurimanzutto Booth. Courtesy: Kurimanzutto