Art Fair Madrid Spain

Arco Madrid 2020

A list of events during ARCO

When is the art fair week in Madrid?

from February 26 to March 1st, 2020 

ARCO Madrid: The capital of Spain will soon become a prolific hub for art lovers. From contemporary art, emerging art to street art, Madrid has something for everyone. The most artistic week of the year is taking place in Madrid led by ARCO art fair. Just like Venice Biennale or Art Basel, there are many smaller satellite events happening around the same time as the main event. We subjectively list them below, considering our mindset: art in the context of the digital era.

ARCO Madrid in 2020: Anything new?

 

  • General public ticket: Wednesday, February 26 to Saturday, March 1, 40€. Sunday, March 3, 30€
  • Address: IFEMA, Feria de Madrid. Av. del Partenón, 5

Art business as usual

2020 had a rough start: with a new global challenge to public health and security, many public events such as art fairs and exhibitions have been cancelled. ARCO was luckily not affected by the fear of Coronavirus. Today February 26th at noon, on its first day of ARCO many professional dealers and collectors streamed in to visit the fair just like for the past 38 years.

ARCO week

This is the 39th edition of ARCO, the largest art fair in Southern Europe. It’s a special event for many people in the art world: it is the largest art part of the Spanish art market, as the most transactions are done during this ARCO week. 209 art galleries from more than 30 countries are present in this edition. 171 of which make up the general programme, in addition to the curated sections.

Just a matter of time

This year the theme is called ‘It’s Just a Matter of Time’ featuring a selection of 16 artists from 13 galleries. The theme is inspired by artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres who passed away at 38 years young. I don’t know why ARCO, a 39-year-old fair has this focus on this artist, but time is definitely a timeless topic for all beings, us included.

ARCO Madrid
Keyezua, “Amber 04” (from the series “Afroeucentric Face ON”
ARCO Madrid
Diana Larrea “De entre las muertas”, 2020 (detail)
ARCO Madrid
León Ferrari, “La civilización occidental y cristiana”

New Gamers

This year ARCO is also presenting a selection of new galleries more than 2 years old but less than 7 years old in order to ‘boost its image as a fair for discovering national and international creative talent’. The wording on their official website is slightly odd, but I get the message. Throughout the general programme and curated sections, they allow younger galleries in, as a part of their ‘innovation and discovery’ plan.

Art populations

This year is very similar to other editions:

  • 33% of the galleries come from Spain.
  • 22% from Latin America.
  • 45% from the rest of the world.

Although it’s a very international art fair, it has a prominent presence of galleries from Spanish speaking countries. English is only the third most spoken language in the venues, following French. France has one of the strongest art markets in continental Europe, it has a strong presence at ARCO art fair.

Artists from China

Normally I had to look for artists from China but this time I hardly looked. Everyone was going to this little blue booth from artist Ai Weiwei. He is internationally renowned and controversial. This time he brings us something very Chinese, the 12 animals standing for 12 years.

 

The Drawing Room

V edition

This year is the 5th edition. I come back with higher expectations because I think it has the potential to get even better.

Niche Art Fair

Drawing Room is technically the smallest art fair in this ARCO art week. It has only 2 floors and the size of an American home with a small front yard. This year Drawing Room brought 16 galleries from Spain and Latin America and the rest of Europe. Compared to ARCO, it is smaller than just one corridor between the pavilions.

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Alejandro García Restrepo
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Daniel Fleur
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Nuria RIAZA

Specification versus size

However, its size was well compensated by its ability to present itself as a niche art fair. As the name suggests, the Drawing Room is about drawings and other works on paper. It’s not about video art, photography or oil on canvas. This is very clear and very nicely presented. I believe going niche has better value than growing larger in size. The value of the Drawing Room lays in its ability to attract like-minded collectors who have a passion for drawings. I totally felt the click when I visited the Drawing Room.

Art Fair Madrid Spain
“Each Line one Breath Fine liner on 420grams Paper” 100x100cm – John Franzen

Extra Laidback

Compared to the uptight contemporary art fair like ARCO, I found the ambient at this art fair was much more relaxed and personal. There isn’t a dress code or any sorts of code. You are there just to enjoy the art. As I came across the door, I was greeted by some snacks needed to be handpicked. Due to the Corona Virus threat those days, I asked for the hand sanitizer as it was the routine in ARCO. The server responded to me: ‘Hand what?’ 

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Raymond Lemstra

More International Please

8 out of 16 galleries participating in the Drawing Room art fair come from Spain. As a small art fair, you might not attract a lot of foreign galleries. Nevertheless, More international galleries would bring diversity and interest in this event. One gallery whose staff did not speak a word of Spanish. They had to run out to get materials translated on the same day in order to cope with Spanish-speaking visitors. If the fair has an official translator on site, it might attract more international galleries and visitors.

“Room” to Improve

Looking into the press area and found the contact of the press officer as an outsourced communication agency. The Instagram of this agency has only 661 followers, while the Drawing Room has 6799 followers. Followers don’t mean much, but not having many followers means that you are missing out on some great opportunities. It is a small fair, but it could have a big impact. The Drawing Room has a lot of space to grow in terms of an online presence.

Returning galleries

Last year I was very impressed by the Drawing Room for the ‘best bang for your buck’ art fair. This stays true this year. It was only a little over 3000 euro to participate in this 5-day fair. Many old participating galleries returned happily, thinking it was a bargain. The Drawing Room had found its market segment among other art fairs by offering something special to both galleries and collectors.

URVANITY, the New Comer

  • General ticket: 10€
  • Address: LASEDE del COAM, C/ Hortaleza, 63, 28004 Madrid

Started last year, Urvanity has immediately become as popular as other parallel events during the art fair week in Madrid. It uses the concept of “the new contemporary art” created in Miami and narrows its niche to urban art. I would call the equivalent of easy listening music for art, in opposition to the traditional elitist intellectual contemporary art. It is the urban art market after Banksy.

Curatorial

In its first edition, Urvanity has brought 17 galleries, of which 12 are international. This year, 23 galleries will present at the fair. its curatorial choices are reflecting its contender position and adding a nice flare to the contemporary art fairs during ARCO. That’s what we need!

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Stencil – Christian Guémy
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Diptych Pichi Avo
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Mighty communication

From the point of view of communication, Urvanity’s communication team has made a strategic move: making a collaboration with WideWalls, one of the most influential online magazines for urban and contemporary art in the English language. From the first edition, its website could draw as much traffic as the Art Madrid or JustMad (respectively 13th and 9th edition). Giving it a bit more time, the good groundwork of communication will pay off and attract more visitors to this evermore emerging fair.

Hybrid

  • Ticket: 7€
  • Address: Hotel Petit Palace Santa Bárbara, Plaza de Santa Bárbara 10, Madrid
The Hybrid Art Fair, which is taken place at the Hotel Petit Palace, a boutique hotel chain in Spain. This is the second time I visited them and I had a very good impression last year. So I had the most expectations from them.

The reception

The first impression I had was not very positive because the front desk was not the hotel staff. There were some young people, couldn’t find my name on the list. It was a hotel so I expect hotel level organization.

The room is a booth

Anyway, the Hybrid art fair itself is nice as usual. It has a good concept, each hotel room is a booth, occupied by a gallery or an organization. At the very entrance, you see an art activist organization from Ukraine. There are galleries from Kiev, Beijing, Taiwan, Osaka, as well as many from European cities. It was a nice mix of international representation and different kinds of artworks.

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Nina Franco – ninafranco.com
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Romina Rivero (left side of the room)
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Romina Rivero (right side) rominarivero.com

A suggestion

The price range is from 1 EUR for a post-card, 20 EUR for a sketch, and to up to 5000 EUR for a larger work… a wide range. Because the fair only costs from 1000 EUR per booth, including accommodation. This is a great deal because just the room itself costs 300 EUR per night at its normal price. So basically you will be attending the fair for free.

Artists don’t have to be represented by galleries

I met two art collectives in the fair, and I asked: how long have you been collective? One answered: just since this year (for two months), another one said: just for this weekend. I am sorry? An art collective made just for this weekend to share the cost of this fair?
It made me question the selection process: if a temporary artist collective could qualify, anyone who pays could qualify? In this case, if I were the organizer, I would save a few rooms just to make independent artist show. This way, artists don’t have to make fake groups just to come here.

“Talking independent”

If Hybrid wants to stand out, it needs to be edgier: such as allowing an independent artist to attend, or include more art activists… Or play with the fact there is a bed, to promote the idea of privacy and art… There are many possibilities.

Art Madrid

  • Ticket: 15€
  • Address: Glass Galerie Cibeles Palace, Calle de Montalbán, 1, 28014 Madrid

The 15th edition of Art Madrid Contemporary Art Fair is taking place in this beautiful venue surrounded by museums and art centers.

A Parisian Touch

When entering the Art Madrid art fair, I immediately thought of another art fair. The nice sunlight and glass ceiling reminded me of the good memories of visiting Photo Paris at Grand Palais in Paris. It was a very nice location, very spacious and bright. Many visitors were French-speaking, which gives the illusion to be in Paris.

ARCO Madrid
Roldan Lauzan – galeria Bat
ARCO Madrid
Chamnan Chongpaiboon – Soraya Cartategui gallery
ARCO Madrid
Fidia – galeria hispanica

An Emerging Art Fair

Art Madrid has a long history and is sometimes considered the little brother of ARCO. It has artists from all disciplines and galleries from all over the world. The main differences would be: more affordable and more emerging.

The reality of the art world

According to the Art Madrid website, ‘the fair defines as a proposal close to the public and the reality of the art world, aware of the future challenges and the positive impact of initiatives like this one.’ It is a bit confusing because we really did not know which ‘one’ it was referring to. It must be talking about this ‘One Project’. It is a curated program that shows unpublished, multi-disciplinary projects created especially for the fair and its space.

Similar writing style to ARCO

The way of writing is just like the communication of ARCO. Art Madrid is trying to use the contemporary art language to communicate something young, emerging and affordable. The intention is nice, but I think there must be better ways to do it. If they could come up with a new way of communicating their message, Art Madrid could transmit a stronger message.

 

Solid proposal

Art Madrid faces fierce competition as an emerging art fair. If emerging galleries want to grow online, they will have to cut their art fair budgets. Art Madrid has a solid history, but they can’t ignore many contenders who try to take its place.

ARCO Madrid
Gerald Mas – Call Center Lady
ARCO Madrid
Marc Solís – Rojo IV
ARCO Madrid
Spok Brillor – K

An Emerging Art Fair

Art Madrid has a long history and is sometimes considered the little brother of ARCO. It has artists from all disciplines and galleries from all over the world. The main differences would be: more affordable and more emerging.

The reality of the art world

According to the Art Madrid website, ‘the fair defines as a proposal close to the public and the reality of the art world, aware of the future challenges and the positive impact of initiatives like this one.’ It is a bit confusing because we really did not know which ‘one’ it was referring to. It must be talking about this ‘One Project’. It is a curated program that shows unpublished, multi-disciplinary projects created especially for the fair and its space.

Similar writing style to ARCO

The way of writing is just like the communication of ARCO. Art Madrid is trying to use the contemporary art language to communicate something young, emerging and affordable. The intention is nice, but I think there must be better ways to do it. If they could come up with a new way of communicating their message, Art Madrid could transmit a stronger message.

 

Solid proposal

Art Madrid faces fierce competition as an emerging art fair. If emerging galleries want to grow online, they will have to cut their art fair budgets. Art Madrid has a solid history, but they can’t ignore many contenders who try to take its place.

JustMAD

  • Ticket: 15€
  • Address: Palacio Neptuno, C/de Cervantes, 42, 28014 Madrid

10 Years of being justMad!

With more than 50 galeries, they are bigger than the other art fair off, but yet nothing equivalent to the big daddy Arco. Their approach is dedicated to the emerging art and they merge it with art residencies. 

Local art scene

 While low-cost airlines are bringing geographical mobility to a larger population, affordable art fairs like JustMad are showcasing affordable contemporary art to local collectors. JustMad positions itself as the emerging art fair version of ARCO, following similar curatorial lines but featuring more local galleries (mostly Spanish, a few European). JustMad is a good opportunity to connect with the local art scene and source your favorite local galleries if you have recently moved to Madrid.

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Robério Braga
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Ana Pérez Ventura
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Teresa Carneiro
Just Normal

JustMAD art fair gives more attention to the people than the artworks. Go on its website and you will notice the portraits of the curators and its sponsors more than the artworks. If they want to support the emerging Spanish art, they should put art in the spotlight and sell it hard. Another problem is that JustMAD has put themselves in a somehow awkward position from the beginning – as inferior to ARCO, instead of the alternative to ARCO. In 2017, their curatorial note said: ‘last year I was in JustMAD, this year I am in ARCO.’ This comparison would really hurt their potential in many ways. By the way, ARCO is already giving out an emerging art award sponsored by a large alcoholic beverages company. If you are fond of art or don’t have the time or energy to take a trip out of the city center for ARCO. Then yes, JustMAD is a good option. If you are already exhausted from visiting ARCO, you can skip this one.

Art Fair Madrid Spain
El Rojo
Art Fair Madrid Spain
Paco Pomet
Art Fair Madrid Spain
Paulo Damiao
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