ArteBA: Buenos Aires Contemporary Art Fair

TUESDAY, JUNE 3, 2008

Nathan Tichenor

Buenos Aires – Every year Buenos Aires holds its contemporary art fair in La Rural, the new and sprawling conference centre/complex. ArteBA lasts for 5 days (May 29 – June 2), and I went to the opening night party but also returned a couple times to take in the huge amount of work being shown. Opening nights are always difficult to focus on the art when the crowd takes your attention. Add to that many bottles of Chandon and a nasty film of cigarette smoke in the air and you get an environment not conducive to (and perhaps pointless to attempt) concentration.

I returned Sunday to crowds that seemed even larger; a testament to the success of the fair. But again, I did feel, while on the whole good, not much of the work really stood out and grabbed me. In an art fair environment, the dealers really have to step it up and provide at least some dramatic impact. For better or for worse, when you’re displaying cheek to jowl, it inevitably becomes about image and impact. That said, Appetite Gallery’s stand was always busy with its chaotic rec room atmosphere – almost an extension of the San Telmo gallery’s physical ocation

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