My Bo

Frank Expósito at the 10th ArtBO

Left: MALBA curator Agustín Pérez Rubio, Museum of Fine Arts Boston curator Liz Munsell, MAMM curator Emiliano Valdés, ArtBO director María Paz Gaviria Múñoz, Tate Modern curator Tanya Barson, and Museum of Contemporary Art senior curator Alma Ruiz. Right: Curator José Roca. (All photos: Frank Expósito)

FOREIGNERS WERE ASSURED they would be safe. Amid the Bogotanos that went outside for a smoke during the blackout at a salsa club on the eve of ArtBO was María Paz Gaviria, ArtBO’s director. Her eyes widened as she spoke: “I’m very happy to have everyone here,” she said, referring to the dealers from twenty-some countries who had traveled to Colombia’s capital for the fair. Curator Emiliano Valdés had just arrived, at the party and also in the country, for his new post as chief curator at Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín. He stood with María Mercedes González, director of the MAMM, which is currently undergoing a twelve-million-dollar expansion. ARCOmadrid director Carlos Urroz Arancibia was also in town to promote his fair’s 2015 edition, where Colombia would be the featured country for the first time.

Gaviria was celebrating her third year as director of the fair, though it was rumored this, the fair’s tenth anniversary, would be her last. Some thought it was due to a strain on her relationship with Bogotá’s Chamber of Commerce, which created and continues to sponsor the fair. Their seemingly opposing views of how the fair should look—Gaviria, increasingly international; the chamber, less so—was argued to be the root. The chamber had also excluded her father’s gallery, Nueveochenta, from participating in prior editions, citing a conflict-of-interest law, even though the gallery almost exclusively represents a roster of contemporary artists from Bogotá. But this year Nueveochenta was present, showing, among other things, monumental drawings on Plexiglas by Colombian artist Jaime Ávila.

Left: ArteBA director Julia Converti and dealer Elba Benitez. Right: Artist Alicia Barney.

The Bogotanos call it soroche. As altitude sickness continued to set in the next day—Bogotá is over a mile and a half above sea level—the art world began the fair’s VIP program, which, at its first stop, had guests playing house at collector Katherine Bar-On’s apartment in Barrio Los Rosales. NMAC Foundation director Jimena Blázquez and JJ Foundation director Nicole Junkermann sipped coffee with Madrid CA2M director Ferran Barenblit on the balcony; the clouds were noticeably closer. Art adviser Ana Sokoloff and collector Gloria Saldarriaga wandered through the house, while Casas Riegner’s Catalina Casas spoke about her gallery’s show with Colombian artist Mateo López, whose schematic drawings were exhibited at the fair and whose installation Casa Desorientada (Disoriented House) one could sneak into in the city’s botanical gardens later in the day.

The opening for Fundación MISOL’s annual prize followed, celebrating the work of artist Erika Ordosgoitti and curator Alejandro Martín. The former took on the tradition of body art by incorporating social media in video and prints while Martín, among other interventions, regally transformed the upstairs with heavy, red velvet drapery. Even though it was in a white-cube space, the air was slightly burlesque, which seemed appropriate for an unveiling of new work. Fundación MISOL president Solita Mishaan seemed perpetually in the midst of a series of interviews and quick exchanges. One was with Blázquez, who spoke about the logistics of running a public, collecting foundation. “We choose artists because we want their work to be part of museums, not in collections,” Mishaan responded. “If MoMA was interested in this piece,” she said as she pointed to one of Ordosgoitti’s videos housed in wooden scaffolding, “I would give it to them.”

Casa Triângulo dealers Ricardo Trevisan and Rodrigo Editore navigated the growing crowd, while Instituto de Visión dealers Omayra Alvarado and Beatriz López took shelter in a not yet populated hallway on the first floor. Alvarado and López had just finished putting the final touches on their new space in the gallery district of Barrio San Felipe, which they were inaugurating the next day with a three-part group exhibition. As MISOL welcomed more people, the art world decamped to the garden where the fair had invited artists to create site-specific works. Along with López, artists such as Colombians Nadín Ospina and Andrés Jurado dealt with the built environment in an installation titled Insulas (Islands) of shrunken global monuments in another pond and in an installation titled Teatro de Insectos (Theater of Insects) that included a monitor amid the humid overgrowth in an elaborate greenhouse.

Left: Artists Catalina Sanint and Antonio Caro. Right: Artist Mateo López.

Most galleries at the fair came from South and Central America. São Paulo–based Galería Luisa Strina showed the conceptual paintings of Costa Rican artist Federico Herrero, while Buenos Aires–based gallery Ignacio Liprandi Arte Contemporáneo brought soot mandalas by Argentinian artist Tomás Espina. Henrique Faria Fine Art gave their space over to handheld, trepanned sculptures of Fernando “Coco” Bedoya, and Revolver Galería displayed geometric shelving by Peruvian artist Daniel Barclay. Galeria Jaqueline Martins showed the spatial works of Brazilian modernist Martha Araújo, while 80M2 Livia Benavides displayed Peruvian artist Iosu Aramburu’s abstractions of Le Corbusier architectural renderings, which were quickly picked up by Jorge Pérez for his Pérez Art Museum Miami. From Europe, Paris-based Mor Charpentier installed a full wall of eye-catching photographs by Carlos Motta, and Berlin-based Galerija Gregor Podnar included the relational resin-poured and cardboard sculptures of Slovene artist Tobias Putrih, a series that would also be shown outside of the fair at the latest exhibition of FLORA ars+natura, the Bogotá-based exhibition space and artist residency led by the curator José Roca.

For the second year running, Roca had also curated the fair’s solo projects section, El Uso Estético del Objecto (The Aesthetic Use of Objects), which focused on the boundary between art and design. Works appeared in a variety of recognizable functional forms: a sitting area (Daniel Acosta at Casa Triângulo), concrete architectural models (Héctor Zamora at Luciana Brito Galeria), cabinets (Sebastián Errázuriz at Cristina Grajales Gallery), and latex pants (Ana Laura Aláez at Galería Moisés Pérez de Albéniz). “Fernando Botero famously said that abstract art was only useful to decorate apartments,” the curator noted. “These works have something to them that bring them into the realm of art, or maybe they don’t. I think 90 percent of people who go to Daniel Acosta’s booth don’t recognize that’s a piece at all. This is a test to the power of the piece, which was intended to be a pavilion that generates conversation.”

Left: Fundación MISOL director Solita Mishaan and artist Erika Ordosgoitti. Right: NMAC Foundation director Jimena Blázquez and JJ Foundation director Nicole Junkermann.

“When the sun shines so brightly, it means a storm is coming,” someone said at the opening at Instituto de Visión the following morning. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition focused on environmental “bio-art” and included work by Alicia Barney, Ana María Millán, and Carolina Caycedo. “It used to be so bad here that the cartels would steal my Artforums,” Barney said about Bogotá. “They needed it to sneak in drugs.”

Caycedo’s film depicts the current building of El Quimbo, the country’s first hydroelectric power plant to be constructed by a transnational company. When finished, the plant will dam Colombia’s greatest river, the Magdalena. Caycedo’s work considers the lives of the Colombian people who depend on the river to survive. As onlookers sat there watching Zoila Ninco, an artisanal fisherwoman and day laborer featured in the film, rain and hail suddenly beat heavily on the gallery’s roof. The pipes began to rattle, and soon water pushed past the doorway. There was no escaping it. Art and nature had found each other.

Left: Dealer Catalina Casas (right). Right: Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín director María Mercedes Gonzálezand curator Emiliano Valdés.

Left: Curator Sophie Goltz and dealer María Quiroga. Right: Curator Juan Andrés Gaitán.

Left: Dealer Stefan Benchoam. Right: Dealers Ricardo Trevisan and Rodrigo Editore.

Left: Blanton Museum curator Beverly Adams (left) and art advisor Ana Sokoloff (center). Right: Dealer Carlos Hurtado.

Left: Dealers Beatriz López and Omayra Alvarado. Right: Curator Manuela Moscoso.

Left: Dealer Ignacio Liprandi. Right: Dealer Livia Benavides.

Left: Dealer Jaqueline Martins. Right: Dealers Adriana Farietta and Johannes Vogt.

Left: Artist Matías Quintero Sepúlveda. Right: Espacio Odeón director Tatiana Rais.

Left: Collector Katherine Bar-On. Right: Dealers Jordi Rigol and Daniela Macías.

Left: Artist Juanli Carrión (left) and dealer Nacho Valle (center). Right: Dealer Eduardo Brandão.

Left: Dealer Henrique Miziara (right). Right: Dealer Pilar Estrada Lecaro (left).

Left: Dealer Irene Tomatis and Hannah Thorne. Right: Collector Mauro Herlitka.

Left: Dealer Maria Betegon. Right: Artist Camila Botero.

Left: First Lady of Colombia María Clemencia Rodríguez Múnera (center left) and dealer Alex Mor (center right). Right: Dealer Giancarlo Scaglia.