Commercial galleries Fairs Spain

Who bought what at Arco?

International collectors were out in force, but Spanish institutions also shopped hard

Visitors to Arco Madrid this year

Arco Madrid has worked hard to become one of the most visited contemporary art fairs in the world. Last year, the fair invested €1.5m in its promotion and to attract international collectors. This seems to have paid off: the number of international collectors attending the fair rose to 300 this year, half of whom were first-time visitors.

European dealers praised the fair’s diverse clientele, which, they say, substantially differs from that of Frieze and Art Basel. Certainly, no other major art fair is inaugurated by a King and Queen. Dealers also noted the large number of Colombian collectors, who largely came to support their country’s artists at the fair and to participate in the public talks programme.

But local institutions were also out in force. The Reina Sofia spent €350,000 on 26 artworks, considerably more than the €200,000 it spent last year on 17 works. As usual, the museum’s acquisitions focused on Spanish art, and included a large sculptural assemblage by the Catalan artist Pep Durán, who was represented at the fair by +R (Maserre) Galeria. Other acquisitions included two screen prints by the Colombian artist Beatriz González, Zócalo de la tragedia and Zócalo de la comedia, both 1983, bought from the Bogota-based gallery Casas Riegner. A 30-minute film by the German filmmaker Harun Farocki, The Expression of Hands, 1997, also joins the Reina Sofia’s collection.

Madrid’s contemporary art centre CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo houses two collections that expanded their holdings at the fair. The Contemporary Art Collection of the Regional Government of Madrid art bought works by Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa, and Mariana Castillo Deball and A Kassen, while the Arco Foundation Collection, with the support of IFEMA, bought a sculpture by Ryan Gander, a painting by Beatriz Gonzalez, and Carlos Bunga’s installation Intento de conservación III, 2015.

The fair organisers reported that Miami’s Perez Art Museum and Colombia’s Banco de la Republica also acquired works, but did not provide further details.

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