ARCO Art fair Lisbon 2023

Portugal Lisbon 2023: ARCO LISBOA has opened its doors to international collectors. Here is our review of the art fair with interviews of participating galleries. The 6th edition is not only an attractive event to visit but is now well established. Let’s dive into it after a brief presentation.

Arco Lisboa location

If you are familiar with ARCO Madrid, you might be surprised by this unique historical vibe. It’s unlike any other contemporary art fair held in convention centers. It took again place in the Cordoaria Nacional, a former manufacturing center for the Portuguese navy dating from 1779. This elongated building is supported by sturdy iron pillars and covered by old timber roofs. You can not get lost in the exhibition space, as there are only two aisles – one along the street, the other along with the garden. Large windows allow maximum daylight and air flow naturally without air conditioning. ARCO Lisboa is one of the most relaxing international art fairs I have visited.

ARCO Lisboa - arco lisbon art fair general program


GENERAL PROGRAM with 54 galleries, the Opening Lisbon section showcasing 21 select galleries, and Africa in Focus with 8 participating galleries. Africa’s rich artistic culture is spotlighted in the Africa in Focus program for the second consecutive year curated by Paula Nascimento.

Regarding ARCO Lisboa

Regarding ARCO Lisboa

The Art Fair seemed to attract less media coverage this time. The previous edition made many newspaper covers. But this year, the fair had less exposure (perhaps due to coinciding with the Portugal football final.)

A positive note, however, was the increased presence of international collectors.”

Adriana Molder

“I started working with her last year. She is a mid-career artist already well-established. Her father, Jorge Molder, a well-known photographer, dramatically inspires her work.

The portrait series she crafted mirrors old movies she watched during the lockdown. And the standout piece shows a Victorian woman. Like the previous year, this artwork made a striking impression at the expo.”

A little anecdote

“Last year’s piece caught the attention of the city hall, who were keen to purchase it. Unfortunately for them, a collector had already secured it. They requested me to call him so he could reconsider, but he declined. Ultimately, both parties were happy when the city hall agreed to acquire another piece that wasn’t on display.”

Rui Brito

ARCO LISBOA, Adriana Molder, Oh, Fuck the Old Ways, 2022 - Gallery 111 - Arco Art Fair Lisbon

Adriana Molder – Oh, Fuck the Old Ways

 Pedro A.H Paixão -Rocco and sleeping Dreamers - Gallery 111at Arco Lisboa

Pedro A.H Paixão – Rocco and sleeping Dreamers (From last year’s edition)

gallery 111 - Rui Brito at Arco Lisboa

Rui Brito – Gallery 111

Africa focus and Lisbon City Hall

Last year, we showcased António Ole’s installation art with Paula Nascimento’s essay “On Taking the Pill”. (She is the curator of the African Focus and you can read her interview about this here.)

Ole’s piece was acquired by the City Hall and is then displayed in the fair’s Acquisition section. The Lisbon City Hall maintains several warehouses that store artwork based on the technique. We were once again invited to the Africa Focus this year. However, no discount was offered since it’s our second consecutive year.

Edson Chagas’ “Tipo Passe” series is among the art pieces exhibited. In 2013, Chagas’ art was part of a collection curated by Paula Nascimento at the National Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, where they won the Golden Lion for the best national participation. It’s a full-circle moment!
– Inês Valle

Edson Chagas - Tipo Passe series - Arco Art Fair Lisbon - Insofar
Edson Chagas “Tipo Passe”
On taking the pill - Essay by Paula Nascimento - Insofar at Arco Lisboa

“On taking the Pill” – Work by António Ole – Essay on the back by Paula Nascimento

Inês Valle last year next to the front side of Paula’s installation ->

Inês Valle Gallery Insofar at ARCO Lisboa

The Art Fair that fits

Advice for young galleries

“As a gallery owner, it’s crucial to visit an art fair before participating in it. Absorb, learn, and then ponder upon its suitability for your gallery. Take a look at the committee and the galleries’ list. Put in the effort to discern whether your gallery aligns well with the fair.

“On average, our gallery takes part in four art fairs per year. “
Nadia Amor – L’Atelier 21

M’barek Bouhchichi’s work

M’barek Bouhchichi‘s work explores social segregation within the Berber community and the widespread invisibility they face, captured through his poignant series of portraits.

Nadia Amor, Hayat Belahrach in front of M'barek Bouhchichi Portrait art - Atelier 21 - Arco LISBOA Art Fair Lisbon

Nadia Amor and Hayat Belahrach

M'barek Bouhchichi Portrait art - L'Atelier 21 - Arco LISBOA Art Fair Lisbon
M'barek Bouhchichi Portrait art - L'Atelier 21 - Arco LISBOA Art Fair Lisbon
ARCO LISBOA SOLO section - arco lisbon art fair


The new SOLO Projects will feature new works from international artists to enhance the general program.

ARCO Lisboa compared to other fairs

“The organization is really good and it has the advantage to be an easier entry than ARCO Madrid. People tend to buy the last days; in contrary to fairs like Frieze and Basel if you don’t sell the 1st day you are done.

Compared to last year, ARCO Lisboa has now established itself. I’ve observed an influx of Austrian art galleries and collectors. The fair also appears to have piqued the interest of numerous Brazilian collectors. On top of that, the new Solo section was attractive! So much so that it appealed to me to return again this year. This year marks my third art fair following my experiences at Art Rotterdam and Art Dusseldorf.”

Cornelis van Almsick – Gallery Zeller van Almsick

Hong Zeiss - Cornelis - Gallery Zeller van Almsick - Arco art fair Lisbon

Hong Zeiss, Cornelis van Almsick

Hong Zeiss - Zeller van Almsick - Arco LISOBA art fair Lisbon
Hong Zeiss - Zeller van Almsick - Arco art fair Lisbon

Hong Zeiss’ work

Arco foundation selection

This is my third visit and I’m particularly drawn to the solo section. A new gallery can only appear in the opening section twice, so it was our choice. I first attended in 2015 and it was refreshing to be part of a new fair. People here really take the time to engage in conversation and observe the art.

One strange thing they could change is that they have this long lunch break from 12:30 to 3:30, during which most attendees prefer to dine outdoors.

ARCO foundation

My first encounter with Alejandra Venegas’ art was at Condo Mexico. I’m delighted to share that Alejandra Venegas’ work has now been added to the Fundacíon ARCO collection! During the opening, ARCO picks a few pieces of art to add to their collection in Madrid.

Condo’s concept

The condo is a grand shared exhibition involving international galleries. Home galleries open their spaces to guest galleries, either by co-creating an exhibit or by splitting their gallery into designated spaces. This initiative prompts the reevaluation of existing models, combines resources, and encourages joint action to foster an atmosphere more suitable for experimental gallery exhibits to occur worldwide.

Alejandra Venegas - Dürst Britt and Mayhew - Arco Art Fair Lisbon
Alexander next to Alejandra Venegas art - Dürst Britt and Mayhew gallery- Arco Art Fair Lisbon

Alexander Mayhew – Durst Britt & Mayhew Gallery

Alejandra Venegas - Dürst Britt and Mayhew - Arco Art Fair Lisbon<br />

 Alejandra Venegas’ art

ARCO LISBOA OPENING - arco art fair Lisbon


The OPENING section includes 21 galleries promoting new and relevant artworks, with the best stand being awarded the Opening Lisboa prize for the fourth consecutive year.

General Expenses

“The term ‘general expenses’ reflects how art is perceived in Mexico. Due to the country’s fiscal system, nearly anything, including art, can be claimed as general expenses. It is paving the way for potential misuse like money laundering. Our gallery’s name critiques this system and, more widely, the Art World.”

ARCO Lisboa, the good and the bad

“As for the fair, it boasted excellent PR. Several foundations from Mexico attended, and we established valuable contacts on the very first day. However, the layout in the Opening section needed to be clarified, making it challenging to distinguish one gallery from another. The lighting wasn’t optimal either, creating a strobe effect when photos were taken due to the neon lighting.”

Arco art fair Lisbon - general expenses gallery

Wendy Cabrera Rubio – Those who would like to eat should work

Arco art fair Lisbon - general expenses gallery<br />

Paul Earle – General Expenses – next to Wendy’s work

Compared to Untitled Miami

“Despite these challenges, my experience in Lisbon was very positive, especially compared to the distressing experience at Untitled Miami, where we suffered art theft amid a lack of security, cameras, and insurance. Moreover, our complaints were ignored.

On a lighter note, artist Wendy Cabrera Rubio was selected for the CCA ANDRATX residency program in Mallorca during Untitled, which was a delightful contrast.

In our gallery, we support the artists we represent by producing their art, as they often lack the resources to bring their visions to life.”


Just Lx is an off event of ARCO Lisbon. It is the equivalent (and same institution) of Just Madrid for ARCO Madrid. Think of it as a remora, the “sharksucker”: The galleries that cannot afford the cost or cannot be selected by the leading Art fair can go there. Furthermore, people work for ARCO and work for them from one year to another. It is an intelligent association between two businesses, and it works as ARCO is leaking collectors seeking opportunities to that place. It is more petite, more amateur, and consequently, the proximity to the exhibitors is higher.

Why Otra

Otra Galeria, with the meaning to be ‘Different’ from other galleries, encapsulates my vision of creating a gallery that’s approachable and educational, steering clear of traditional elitism often associated with galleries. We initiate the art experience with pieces as affordable as 30 euros, making art accessible to all.

Just LX pro and con

One of the highlights of JustLx is its networking potential. I’ve had the opportunity to meet influential individuals, leading to promising future collaborations in Lisbon. On the downside, the fair wasn’t as bustling as we would have liked, with one day almost empty.

India Toctli - Just LX - La Otra - Arco Lisbon art fair

India ToctliFeminismo o barbarie series

Marta Soriano - La Otra - Paula Blanco Art - Just LX - Arco Lisboa Lisbon Art fair

Marta Soriano – La Otra Galeria – Art by Paula Blanco

ARCO ART FAIR LISBON previous edition

Richie Culver - Lehmann+Silva Porto at Arco Lisboa art fair
Richie Culver – Lehmann+Silva Gallery
Susy Gomez QUANTUM 7 - Acrylic on canvas - 300x200cm - Galeria Horrach Moya at Arco Lisboa art fair
Susy Gomez QUANTUM 7
Galeria Horrach Moya
Pascal Konan - Seul face au monde - 193 Gallery at ARCO Lisbon art fair

Pascal Konan – Seul face au monde – 193 Gallery

Dejan Dukic Artwork Gallery Zeller Van Almsick at ARCO Lisboa Lisbon art fair
Dejan Dukic – Zeller van Almsick
Guillermo García Cruz - Wall XXIILX acrylic on canvas - Galería Zielinsky at Arco Lisboa
Guillermo García Cruz – Wall XXIILX – Galería Zielinsky
Dagmar Van Weeghel - DIASPORA series at Arco Lisboa art fair
Dagmar Van Weeghel – DIASPORA
 at ARCO Lisbon art fair

Epheas Maposa – 31Project Gallery

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