The Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten
, one of the most important visual arts institutes in the world, has been chosen as the setting for the presentation of the 2012 edition of the International Contemporary Art Fair, ARCOmadrid, and its Special Guest programme, FOCUS the Netherlands. The fair, which is set to take place from 15-19 February 2012 and will feature 158 galleries from more than 30 countries in its General Programme, as well as a further 58 galleries selected for its Curated Programmes, will once again see attentions in the contemporary art world turn to Madrid. As such, work is underway to put together the fair's artistic programme and theoretical model, as well as to painstakingly select collectors and prestigious professionals from all over the world to enjoy the thrilling experience of taking part in ARCOmadrid, as well as to promote activities geared at attracting top agents from the art world to attend the fair and to organise a circuit of exhibitions that will take place in the city's main museums and art venues.
One of the main attractions at the 2012 edition of the fair comes in the shape of FOCUS the NETHERLANDS, a project that has involved the collaboration of the Mondriaan Foundation and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Spain, as well as input from the curator Xander Karskens, who is in charge of the collection and the international contemporary art programme at the Hallen Museum in Haarlem, who was tasked with selecting the 14 Dutch galleries to take part in the Special Guest programme. This project, which will help to give the key figures in the world of Dutch art collection, curating and criticism a closer insight into Madrid, will take in the city's main museums and art venues through exhibitions, cycles and other initiatives, like the ones at the Reina Sofía Museum, including an exhibition of the paintings of René Däniels, at the Velázquez Palace and a performance by Falke Pisano at the museum proper; La Casa Encendida will be hosting a collective exhibition by Dutch artists; Matadero Madrid will be displaying a selection of works by Navid Nuur and screening films by Nathaniel Mellors at the Cineteca, while the artist Aernout Mik will be exhibiting at the CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo.
Against this backdrop, Latitutes (Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna) will be responsible for the Netherlands Assembly, a dedicated space at the fair which will host Dutch cultural and artistic institutions, performances, talks and film screenings, as well as other activities to encourage interaction with visitors.
To further add to the cultural options on offer, the Netherlands will also be involved in the new After ARCO project, which will consist of activities (film screenings, concerts, etc.) taking place in different venues across Madrid after the fair ends.
New features at ARCOmadrid
On the back of the changes introduced in the 2011 event, focused on a reduction in the size of the fair and a firm commitment to collecting and the quality of the galleries and works exhibited, a number of new initiatives are set to be rolled out to boost ARCOmadrid 2012 and reaffirm its emphasis on quality and inquiry as a key concept for the selection of galleries
Similarly, ARCOmadrid is launching the innovative Featured Artist initiative, which seeks to highlight an artist's work with a personal stand, serving to underline ARCOMadrid's role within the global art fair world and reinforce its function as a source of information for the many collectors and professionals that attend the fair every year. This programme seeks to encourage galleries to stage a special presentation of the work of one of their artists. ARCOmadrid will feature these artists in its press material and present critics, curators and visitors with a publication containing the profiles of the artists selected and images of their works to help the public gain a deeper insight into their careers as artists.
Another new initiative is Solo Objects, whereby participating galleries will have the chance to exhibit large-format sculptures and installations in specially designated areas which, spread across the fair's different pavilions, will focus the public's attention.
Finally, to widen the cultural fare offered by the event, this year sees the launch of a new project: After ARCO, which will involve various activities taking place across Madrid after the end of the fair. Cultural leisure options on offer will include a music festival, installations, film screenings and parties - in short, a comprehensive cultural package so that visitors can enjoy the city and its nightlife during ARCOmadrid.
Opening Young European Galleries
The fair will once again include the section Opening: young European galleries, aimed at galleries from various European countries that have been open for less than seven years. This programme was extremely well received in the last edition, and a number of the emerging galleries that took part have expressed an interest in coming back to the fair. This time around, the galleries have been selected by the curator and art critic Manuel Segade, who has chosen a total of 22 galleries from ten European countries, including two Dutch venues recommended by the curator Xander Karskens.
Solo Projects Latin America
The Solo Projects: Focus on Latin America, meanwhile, will continue its efforts to showcase the work of Latin American artists. More than ever, the programme in the upcoming edition aims to be a space for the exploration of artistic creation in Latin America, thanks to the efforts of a team of six curators working with ARCOmadrid: Cauê Alves (Brazil), Sonia Becce (Argentina), Patrick Charpenel (Mexico), Alexia Dumani (Costa Rica), Manuela Moscoso (Colombia/Ecuador) and José Ignacio Roca (Colombia), who have selected 22 artists from nine Latin American countries, as well as the collaboration of AECID, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.
Solo Projects will be serving as a forum for exchange between Europe and Latin America, with the 1st Meeting of European and Latin American Museums directed by Agustín Pérez-Rubio (director of the MUSAC in León) and Marcelo Mattos Araujo (director of the Pinacoteca de São Paulo). Around 20 professionals from both sides of the Atlantic will come together for this event.
Collectors and art industry professionals
All of ARCOmadrid's activities are geared towards attracting leading national and international collectors and critics to the fair. They include the International Collectors Programme, which will see a selection of some 200 active art collectors from all over the world invited by the participating galleries, alongside a number of leading art consultants. ARCOmadrid will also be organising visits from International Museum Groups, whose patrons and friends will be invited to attend the fair and enjoy its many fringe activities.
As well as established collectors, ARCOmadrid will also have a space for people getting started in the world of purchasing and appreciating contemporary art. The First Collectors programme, run by Elisa Hernando of art consultancy firm Art Global, will offer these newcomers advice as to how to start their collections and purchase works at the fair.
Collectors, professionals and other guests at the fair can gather in ARCOmadrid's VIP Lounge, which will be offering an extra-special space this year. The space will be designed by Teresa Sapey Estudio de Arquitectura, fronted by Teresa Sapey, a Spain-based Italian-born architect who won the competition held in collaboration with the magazine AD Architectural Digest. The project will be sponsored by the Swedish brand IKEA, and will offer something new and innovative that is bound to impress the public.
Besides this programme of activities, the fair will also include the Experts Forum, headlined by a Forum on Collecting, including roundtable discussions (two coordinated by Rosa Martínez and one by Peter Doroshenko) as well as four Case Studies on collecting: Corporate Collecting in Europe, led by Aline Pujo, the Director International Association of Corporate Collections of Contemporary Art IACCCA, París, and Sabrina Kamstra, the President Netherlands Association of Corporate Art Collections VBCN, Amsterdam; The Role of Art Consultants in Collecting Today (by Amy Goldrich); The Experience of Art Buying Groups in Belgium, coordinated by Neos Collection, and the last one, which will be presenting a selection of Spanish collections that support art through a more comprehensive vision of the concept of collecting, namely through establishing exhibition spaces, founding awards or creating educational programmes such as Masters degrees.
There will also be an Open Forum featuring the likes of the Italian Culture Institute of Madrid; the Goethe-Institut; and Casa Asia, among others.
On the other hand, hot off the success of the last edition, the Professional Meetings will bring together figures such as Marc-Olivier Wahler, the Director of the Palais de Tokyo; Hans Ulrich Obrist, the Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery in London; Bartomeu Marí, the Director of the Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum (Macba); the independent art critic and curator Inti Guerrero; James Lingwood, the Co-Director of Artangel; Lynne Cooke, the Deputy Director for Conservation, Research and Publicity at the Reina Sofía Museum, Sergio Rubira from RMS La Asociación, as well as the freelance curator Tania Pardo . It offers a unique platform for analysis and debate about artistic objects and their production, creation, appreciation and presentation.