ARCOmadrid 2024: a Latin-Centric Art Universe Unveils the Caribbean

ARCOmadrid 2024

Opening day at ARCOmadrid 2024. Courtesy ARCO.

ARCOmadrid, now in its 43rd edition, has once again welcomed art enthusiasts from around the world. This prestigious fair has solidified its position as Europe’s most visited, surpassing even the esteemed Ivy League of European fairs in terms of collector and visitor turnout. As the preview morning unfolds, both pavilions 7 and 8 of the Ifema Centre are teeming with hundreds of Spanish and South American collectors and professionals.

Entering ARCO is akin to traversing a vast and captivating universe of art. With over 205 exhibitors predominantly from Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, the fair exudes a distinctly Latin-centric perspective. The diverse array of artworks on display is nothing short of extraordinary.

Each year, ARCO dedicates special focus to a particular territory, and in 2024, the spotlight illuminates the Caribbean. The exhibition titled “The space occupied by the shore, the tide, the current: an oceanic Caribbean in ARCOmadrid 2024” delves into the conceptual depths of this dynamic region. Curators Carla Acevedo-Yates and Sara Hermann meticulously selected artists and galleries to explore the intricate intersection between land and sea, inviting viewers to contemplate histories, memories, and identities in flux.

Joiri Minaia, presented by Praise Shadows Art Gallery

Joiri Minaia, presented by Praise Shadows Art Gallery at ARCOmadrid 2024. Courtesy Valentina Casacchia.

A standout artist featured in this year’s exhibition is Joiri Minaia, presented by Praise Shadows Art Gallery from Brookline, United States. Minaia, a Dominican artist, amalgamates elements of pop culture with social commentary, exemplified in her dense piece where she recreates the gesture of making waves using her hair immersed in black water. Her work resonates profoundly with the Caribbean experience, juxtaposing it with stereotypical imagery often associated with the region.

Among the galleries that commanded attention was Peter Kilchmann’s selection, featuring Leiko Ikemura, born in 1951, who showcases a renovated interest, and Adriu Deplazes, a swiss painter based in Marseille presenting charming works, often formally built through the visual lens of a walking man. Notable mentions include the impactful Elmgreen and Dragset tennis court “short story” and the compelling storytelling by Gregorio of Helga de Alvear. The presence of Antoni Tapiès, celebrated for his centenary, was palpable throughout the fair along with works like Angela de la Cruz’s ones strengthening admiration.

Elmgren and Dragset tennis court "short story" and Gregorio of Helga de Alvear at ARCOmadrid 2024

Elmgreen and Dragset tennis court “short story” and Gregorio of Helga de Alvear at ARCOmadrid 2024. Courtesy Valentina Casacchia.

Personal favorites included Maisterravalbuena’s showcase of Jerònimo Elespe’s exquisite works, each piece a testament to artistic excellence and of course some incredible Tapies at Galerie Lelong where I got the chance to witness the sale of one of my favorite for just a bite less than 1 million. Priced at 55k, Kelly Beeman’s big painting at Perrotin reflects a distinctive style that merges elements of character delineation with a departure from extravagant designer fashion with a touch of vintage. Another on the rise artist is Galina Munroe at Rafael Pérez Hernando Gallery. A British-French artist, Munroe’s practice researches deep into femminine characters and new way to represent them.

Antoni Tapies presented by Galerie Lelong at ARCOmadrid2024

Antoni Tapies presented by Galerie Lelong at ARCOmadrid2024. Courtesy Valentina Casacchia

ARCOmadrid transcends mere traditional art display; it serves as a hub for conceptual and multimedia expressions. The fair reverberates with intellectual inquiry and theoretical exploration, evidenced by the diverse range of artworks on display. For instance at Angels, a landmark for multimedia artists, it organizes the Loop Festival in Barcelona, one compelling and innovative sculpture that caught my attention was “Walking the Gerund Mountain” by Claudia Pagès Raball. The combination of LED screens with video and sound on a metal structure suggests a dynamic and immersive experience for viewers. The title, “Walking the Gerund Mountain,” implies movement and progression, perhaps through a metaphorical landscape of continuous action, which is characteristic of the gerund form in grammar.
Claudia Pagès Raball 'Walking the Gerund Mountain', Angels

Claudia Pagès Raball ‘Walking the Gerund Mountain’, Angels. Courtesy Valentina Casacchia.

The majority of pieces in the fair are priced from approximately 10k to 50k with a niche of very expensive one up to 1 million and above (if we talk Picasso) catering to a wide range of collectors and art lovers. The fair offers delightful Illy coffee and and (important!) array of good food at the bars.
ARCOmadrid 2024

Food stand at ARCOmadrid 2024. Courtesy ARCO.

To sum it up

In conclusion, ARCO has matured and, rather than diversifying to encompass international areas, it has reinforced its focus on Latin America, a strategic move indeed. With its diverse offerings and range of prices, ARCOMadrid is an event not to be missed also because it would take you guys to a fun place like Madrid.
Valentina Casacchia

Valentina Casacchia

Valentina Casacchia is an art historian and heritage project manager at Fornasetti in Milan. With a rich background in managing prestigious art collections in Paris and New York, including those at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Jersey City Museum, Callimanopulos Collection, and Mutualart, she co-founded The Knack Studio. Valentina also lends her expertise as an independent curator, working with emerging and established artists in various exhibitions and projects. She is a contributor for Elle Decor Italia.

Sum it up, I'm in a rush!

  • When? | March 6-10, 2024
  • Where? | Madrid, Spain
  • Atmosphere | Sleek and striking
  • Curator’s booth pick | Galerie Lelong
  • Featured Gallery Gem | Peter Klichmann
  • Spotlighted Artists | Antoni Tapies, Claudia Pagès Raball
  • For Whom? | All collectors

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