Ferias de Arte y Artistas

Aquí una pieza de opinión que escribí para APT Global sobre los problemas que enfrentan los artistas ante la proliferación de ferias de arte.

APT Global
Insight Vol. 3

ver publicación entera en :
Opinion Piece PV

Art fairs have become just as much of a hassle for artists
as they have become an essential social tool for the art
business. Although fairs, unlike prepackaged biennials,
are great platforms for underrepresented artists and
regions to showcase work, the institutionalized and
predictable fair ecosystem is diluting the experience of
viewing, understanding and making art. At a fair, artwork
can be appreciated only in a fast frenzy; you have to
experience it and grasp its meaning, if you can, amidst the
suits, the partying and the schmoozing. Then there’s the
question of which fair to attend. With so many fairs taking
place at so many venues simultaneously, how does an
artist on a limited budget decide where to expend his or
her energies and funds? Such decisions are usually made
in the same way mainstream audiences tend to go for the
generic blockbuster movie in summer: by following the

There are a few exceptions in the US; take, for example,
the Milwaukee International, photo MIAMI, VOLTA and the
upcoming FAS/ Sound Art Fair in Puerto Rico, just to name
a few. These fairs are somehow accessible economically
for exhibitors, artists and collectives, and are organized as
curated events that cater not only to the market and art
advisors but to the broader public.

Amongst artists there exists an anxiety to be included in
at least one fair every year. When I started working and
showing in art fairs in ’99, it was tacky for an artist to
list art fair exhibitions on their CVs. Today, however, an
artist must take credit for art fair inclusion because it
gives the impression that he or she has made it in the art
market, or that his or her gallery is doing its job properly.
Participating in an art fair is becoming more important
to an artist’s career than is participating in a biennial or
museum show.

I think remote-control curators, desk curators and
institutionalized curators that double as advisors for
collectors and their artists are responsible for breaking
the market, not fairs. Sadly, the role of the artist is at the
bottom of the food chain. Art fairs are a self-sustained
business that keeps growing on demand and the artwork
is the colorful wallpaper decorating the circus.
My main concern is this: How can we artists make
meaningful work that cuts through, or bypasses
altogether, art fair frivolity, while managing to pay the bills
at the same time?

Pedro Vélez (APT Mexico City) lives and works in Puerto
Rico and Chicago.

MAC, Marianne Ramirez y el MAC: Mientras nuestra prensa duerme con el MAC

ya en el Times Magazine se discute la noticia sobre conflictos de intereses (entre esposos/juntas de goma y ventas por debajo de la mesa) en el Museo de Iowa. En el arte también existe la corrupción con el dinero del pueblo. Nada es sagrado en la isla....es hora de hacer hablar a Miyuca y a su Junta de goma sobre sus conflictos.

Noticia en el Times
por Richard Lacayo

While I was away, there was at least one major art world news blow up. It's since blown down a bit, but it's still worth keeping a close eye on. That was the proposal by Michael Gartner, a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Iowa, to have the University take steps to estimate the market value of Jackson Pollock's Mural. That's one of the most important paintings of Pollock's career — the key work in his evolution towards the all-over drip paintings — and the jewel in the crown of the University's art museum.

Why the sudden need to know how much this painting might be worth? The Iowa campus suffered significant damage in last month's flooding. The sale of a Pollock that would almost certainly bring more than $100 million could cover some of the cost.

It would also be a terrible idea. As anyone who follows these issues is aware, Fisk University in Tennessee and Randolph College in Virginia have taken steps in recent years to liquidate parts of their art collections as a way to raise money to cover serious revenue shortfalls. (More serious in both cases than the one faced by Iowa, but we'll get to that.) Both attempts set off huge fights over the wisdom and the institutional ethics of selling off art to cover a school's general budget problems. And both of them opened up the possibility that in a moment of still escalating prices for the best works, schools all over the country would start looking at their art collections as a piggy bank, even for less pressing needs. Need a new hockey rink? Why bother with fund raising, just truck that Monet over to an auction house.

At this point it helps to have a picture of just how big an outlay the University of Iowa faces to clean up the mess left behind by the floodwaters. The Des Moines Register reported recently that the U. of I. estimates it suffered $232 in damage from the floods. Damage to the University's arts campus is estimated at $52 million. The paper also reports that the school has $250 million in flood insurance, but that there's a cap of $40 million for buildings in the "100 year flood plain". Though the school expects that damage to buildings in that zone will exceed the cap, it can also apply to FEMA for funds to cover the gap. I'm not an insurance adjuster, but if the Register's numbers are correct, it appears to me that the real cost of the clean up will be less than staggering.

As I mentioned up top, this controversy has been dialed back a bit over the past week, largely I'm sure because there was a quick backlash to the trial balloon. Bloggers, especially Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes, sounded an alarm early and often. The chairman of the art issues committee of the Association of Art Museum Directors got into the fight. Iowa papers, including the Register, editorialized against the sale. The Museum's interim director Pam White, who is obviously opposed to any sale, has said that University donors started getting in touch with her to ask whether the museum planned to sell any of their gifts, and threatening never to contribute again if that happened. The office of Iowa's Gov. Chet Culver told Green that Culver believes the university should seek those insurance payments and federal recovery dollars before it even considers the sale of an irreplaceable asset. And so on.

All those negative reactions seem to have had some effect. Gartner, the Iowa Regent (and former president of NBC News) who proposed the pricing exercise has been emphasizing that even he doesn't support a sale. He just wants the school to fully explore its options. Well, selling the Pollock should not be an option. All the same, the Board of Regents is still going forward with its effort to determine the painting's market value. There's no deadline set for when it has to report back with the magic number, but we should all be watching. This attempt to "monetize" a university collection should stop right where it started.