ARTBO is the leading art fair in Bogotá at the center of the art scene

By Inés Arango for Runner Media

Runner Media ™
The Insider Inés Arango, Independent Art Curator

I consider Bogotá to be a very vivid city with an ever growing number of cultural activities. I am particularly interested in the awareness of spaces other than the commercial art landscape.

ARTBO and its movement has grown in importance to become part of the city’s cultural playground for the well-versed in art and enthusiasts who gravitate to take Instagram snaps of the unveiling art. It is essentially a place to meet influential artists, art collectors and Museum directors with an increasing global relevance. This year’s edition of Artecámara, an emerging artist section, has specific appeal to me as a result of its curators, a collective called La Usurpadora, (Mario Llanos Luna and María Isabel Rueda) from the city of Barranquilla. Two curators who have passionately captured the Caribbean identity through their research and exhibition of young Colombian artists in the region. Without a doubt, their fresh perspective and independent work is bound to bring about interesting interpretations. I am also looking forward to the section called Projects, especially Mexican-born Magali Lara’s solo show at Walden Gallery (ARG).

It’s also worth highlighting Leon Tovar Gallery, representing Fanny Sanin’s work (born 1938), a Colombian pioneer in abstract painting, whose large body of work from the 1960’s and beyond has been thrusted back into the limelight by art institutions such as El Museo del Barrio (NYC), The National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, D.C.) and The National Museum of Colombia (Bogotá).

Not far from ARTBO, is Colombia’s Universidad Nacional (Cra 30 #45–03), whose campus is one of the most interesting samples of modernist architecture in the city.

The Museum hosts an exhibition conceived in collaboration with Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid featuring artists Mateo López and Bernardo Ortiz and Spanish-born Ignasi Aballí. Both López and Ortiz are local mid-career artists that have had reasonable international success. Seeing their work in a wide architectural space from the 1970’s is indeed a great way to appreciate Colombian contemporary art. Nearby, is Centro Textura, a refurbished textile factory turned cultural venue, and a unique example of the rehabilitation of Bogotá’s industrial district. Textura hosts La Feria del Millón, commercializing inexpensive artistic production thanks in part to a generation of young collectors. It also hosts the “Mentors” program pairing emerging and mid-career Colombian artists into an open conversation. In the same building, is Voltaje, a curated exhibition focused on art and technology projects, including multimedia installations as well as transdisciplinary works by emerging artists.

An interesting exchange is established between the academic and the commercial spheres, key to understanding the wider artistic landscape in the city. The art department at the Universidad de los Andes, is exhibiting a show curated by Catalina Acosta and Jerónimo Duarte, whose research has led them to explore the thin line between reality and fiction in socially engaged works of art.

Minutes away by foot is Espacio Odeón’sFeria Odeón”, whose seventh edition is stripping the intricate space bare of gallery stands in order to create a soft-edged set-up, playing along with the theater’s architectural complexity and the avant-garde character of their alternative exhibitors. Odeón will also feature a section of experimental video, out of which I recommend, “The Artist Talk Fest”, a project by Ana María Montenegro and Enar de Dios Rodríguez, streaming six hours of consecutive artist’s talks.

In between art fairs and exclusive parties, the curious can wonder to one of the city’s open studios. I would emphasize two of the less known spaces beyond the proclaimed art district known as Barrio San Felipe, where art galleries play a part in the social regeneration of the neighborhood. First, MIAMI @miamirayamiami, an independent space established in 2011. Second, El Cajón in Chapinero Alto — is a very interesting place because it has created a community of artists with specific interests to emerge. Both are located in houses where local working people once lived.

Nationwide, other cities have started to invest in their artistic production. Coming out of a long tradition of biennales, Medellín hosted the first edition of Art Med this past August, and has arguably the best contemporary art museum in the country, MAMM. Furthermore, Bogotá-based gallery Alonso Garcés has made arrangements for Jenny Vilá, Cali’s oldest and most prestigious commercial gallery to appropriate Garcés’ space in La Macarena district, thus sharing the week’s international presence with another city. Hopefully, these activities, which I have presented here, will embrace Colombia’s international presence artistically, amongst emerging artists in the coming years. Enjoy Art Lovers! You’ll find me @inesarangog