by Charlotte Burns and Riah Pryor | Source: The Art Newspaper
This month, Gagosian Gallery announced plans to open a temporary exhibition space in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Next month, it inaugurates a Jean Nouvel-designed space at Le Bourget, the airport for private jets near Paris. These will be the 12th and 13th galleries of an empire that crosses four continents, in what is an unprecedented business model. It is an astounding development for a company that began selling posters from a patio in Los Angeles in 1975. “We have opened galleries around the world because it better serves our artists,” says Larry Gagosian, the founder of the gallery.
“Clearly the art market has become much more global in the past few years,” Gagosian says. “We see evidence of this in the expansion of museums and art fairs internationally. There is no reason why galleries such as ours can’t benefit from this trend.”
Gagosian’s permanent gallery spaces total more than 14,200 sq. m spread across 8 cities: Los Angeles, New York, London, Rome, Athens, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong (excluding its previous temporary space in Moscow, and now Rio). This is more than the entire 13,500 sq. m exhibition space of Tate Modern, including its new extension and the Tanks. The sheer scale of the Gagosian enterprise suggests that, despite reports that the traditional gallery model is in decline, the art trade still relies on bricks and mortar, and that clients still like the personal touch.
How much is the real estate costing the business? The gallery owns its property on New York’s West 24th Street, for which it paid a reported $5.75m in 1999. Property experts estimate that it could now be worth around $65m. On the other hand, the total rental cost of the other 11 spaces Gagosian occupies could be at least $11.4m a year, although calculations are based on media research and the opinions of a range of international property agents, and do not take into account Larry Gagosian’s negotiating skills (our estimates are “between 30% and 50% too high”, he says).
The economist Don Thompson, author of The $12m Stuffed Shark, estimates that Gagosian employs more than 150 staff worldwide and that the gallery makes annual sales of around $1.1bn, or $20m a week. So in one rough estimate, other overheads and commissions notwithstanding, Gagosian Gallery earns in a week almost double its annual property costs.
In Rio de Janeiro, the gallery is taking over a warehouse, where it will mount a sculpture show to coincide with ArtRio. The proliferation of art fairs has been a major factor in the gallery’s expansion; there were only three important fairs in 1970, 68 in 2005 and 189 in 2011. “A number of galleries are now getting 60% to 70% of their annual sales through art fairs, and that requires size and scale: you need more people, more artists, more money,” Thompson says.
Gagosian lists 108 artists on its website and directly represents 77 artists and estates. Larry Gagosian has a reputation for aggressively poaching artists from rivals rather than incubating young talent. However, “it is usually the artist’s initiative that instigates a move to a new gallery”, Gagosian says. “He’s the person who’s forcing the changes in the art world,” says the art adviser Lisa Schiff. “He has been as influential as the internet in the globalisation of the art world.”
The costs of running the empire could lead to a highly pressurised sales environment, Schiff says, questioning the impact on art production. But Gagosian says: “I can’t imagine that any serious gallery would demand that artists produce more work to cover the gallery’s overhead[s]. We certainly do not. The gallery’s profitability has more than kept pace with our expansion.”
There have been four major phases in the growth of Gagosian Gallery (to enlarge the photo click here):
North America: the first proper gallery opened in 1981 in Los Angeles, mainly selling works by East Coast artists such as Richard Serra and Eric Fischl to West Coast collectors. A New York outpost opened four years later - Gagosian was one of the first dealers in Chelsea, although he left the area for SoHo in 1988. He opened an uptown gallery in Sotheby’s former Madison Avenue space the following year, and bought the West 24th Street property in 1999.
London: a major contemporary art centre from the late 1990s, thanks to the YBA phenomenon and the opening of Tate Modern in 2000. That year, Gagosian opened a small space on Heddon Street. This was replaced by the 14,000 sq. ft Britannia Street space in 2004 (when he also opened a third space in Manhattan). Gagosian consolidated his London presence in 2005 with a small gallery in Mayfair.
Europe: Gagosian opened a string of smaller spaces in niche European markets between 2007 and 2010. The plan appears to have been to dominate these local markets through proximity to major collectors, to cement relationships with valuable artists and to mine old European collections for major secondary-market material.
The most recent phase is expansion into emerging markets, with the opening of the first non-Western gallery in Hong Kong last year, and consolidation in the more traditional ones: Gagosian is scheduled to open a larger space outside Paris this year and is said to be considering a third, larger space in London.
by Daniela Gonçalves | Source: Fox News
Brazil fever is spreading all over the US. From Los Angeles to Miami, there are music festivals, movie festivals and even some art festivals – all with Brazil as its focus.
In New York City, the Brasil SummerFest Music Festival, which attracted record-setting audiences in its first year last year, took over the Big Apple. Manhattan also hosted the Brazilian film festival Cine Fest Brasil, which was partly sponsored by the MoMA.
Erika Elliot, co-founder of the music festival, said it encourages people appreciate Brazilian music. “Brazilian music is easy to grasp,” said Petrit Pula, Brasil SummerFest co-founder. “There are a lot of other non-Brazilians [like me] that share the same taste.” For one week, big names and up-and-coming artists brought some samba, hip-hop, baile funk, MPB, bossa nova, and other genres of Brazilian music to venues all over the City from Central Park to Brooklyn.
The contagious interest in Brazilian culture is not contained to just New York. Miami, one of the hubs of Latin culture in the USA, has also caught on.
More and more Brazilians are flocking to the sandy shores of South Beach. Events are planned all over the city catering to the emerging Brazilian scene. Those in Miami said they want to capitalise on the growing number of Brazilian visitors, many of them flush with money.
“The Brazilian buyer loves the finer things in life. To them they come here and if they want something, it is the best,” said Michael Goldstein, the president of Mansions at Acqualina, a 5 Diamond luxury building in Sunny Isles. “Different than what they have in Brazil. They come here and if they see something they like, they buy it!”
The takeover doesn’t end on the east coast. The Brazil craze has a solid footing on the west coast as well.
LA is wrapping up its Brazilian Film Festival. The festival opened in Hollywood with a chic gala featuring the film Open Road, directed by Brazilian Marcio Garcia and stars Andy Garcia, Camilla Belle, John Savage, Juliette Lewis, Colin Egglesfield and Christiane Torloni. The idea behind LA’s mid-July Brazilian Film Festival is to promote the country, its cinema, its people, and its culture. In the hub of the filmmaking world, the 5th annual LABFF has pushed to establish Brazil as a place to expand, shoot, and inspire future American moviemaking.
All this not to mention the forró-fever! In its birthplace in northeast Brazil the folksy, accordion-driven and highly danceable music style known as forró used to be derided as “music for maids and taxi drivers.” No more: not only has the style become popular with a certain hip crowd in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in recent years, but this also seems to be the summer of forró in New York.
On Friday the Midsummer Night Swing series at Lincoln Center will present a Mestres do Forró Nordestino show at Damrosch Park, preceded by dance lessons. That will be followed on Saturday by a forró show at Battery Park. All of that is in addition to half a dozen clubs in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens that now regularly feature live forró (pronounced for-HOE) music. “This genre is just blowing up in New York right now,” said Hap Pardo, the office manager and booking agent for the Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village, which this spring instituted a forró night on Mondays. “It’s a younger, up-and-coming thing, and we wanted to be part of it. Some of my friends have been doing capoeira,” a Brazilian art form that mixes dance and martial arts, “and that branched them out into this new scene. They see forró as a form of exercise while also having fun.”
The boomlet in New York also seems propelled by the desire of young music consumers for something that sounds new and exotic but which you can still dance to in the old-fashioned way — close and tight. That parallels the genre’s evolution in Brazil, where about a decade ago sophisticated college-age urbanites adopted and adapted the old, rough-hewn sound, polishing it into a style now known as “university forró.”
As a dance form, forró is descended from the quadrille, a medieval French style that later made its way to Portugal. “But Brazil being Brazil, it became more sensual in its movements” once it arrived there, said Liliana Araújo, a forró singer and dance teacher who offers instruction before her monthly performances at S.O.B.’s and will also be giving the lesson at Friday night’s Lincoln Center show.
So if you can’t visit the South American country soon do not worry. In the summertime, Brazil will come to you.
by Anderson Antunes | Source: Forbes
When you think of Brazil, you may think of it as the South American birthplace of music genres like the samba or bossa nova. But for the past few years, Brazil has become one of the meccas of electronic music too. A title that it now shares with the likes of Germany, France and the United States, where e-music is not only a controversial topic (is it a form of art or not?) but also big business.
According to a study commissioned by the organisers of the Rio Music Conference, the largest gathering of e-music and entertainment in the Southern Hemisphere, ticket vendors collected US$515 million for electronic music events in 2011, up 56.64% from the previous year. The study also shows that the e-music segment in Brazil reached an audience of 19.5 million people last year, who spent another US$626 million on accommodation, food, transportation and other items. Sponsoring investments, the cream of the crop for these events, was also up to US$270 million, an increase of 60% compared to 2010.
The growing e-music industry in the country of Carnival is also good news for international DJs such as David Guetta, Ferry Corsten, Sven Vath, Erick Morillo, Fatboy Slim, Bob Sinclair, Armin van Buuren, The Prodigy, Kaskade and Nalaya, all of whom have performed there recently, commanding fees of up to US$100,000 per gig. In total, the collective sum paid to DJs who performed in Brazil in 2011 was US$57.2 million, 79.9% more than 2010.
But why has Brazil become such a hotspot for e-music professionals? In spite of its population’s predilection for late-night dance parties, the country’s sizzling economy has a lot to do with it. Most of the bash-goers who attend e-music events in Brazil are twenty or thirty-something, well-heeled, middle-class citizens who don’t mind paying a fairly high price for fancy fare. Add to this the fact that nearly 40 million people have joined Brazil’s middle class since 2003, and you have a wealth of assets.
It’s also worth noticing that Brazil’s nightclubs are among the top rated worldwide. Ten years after its opening, Disco Club is still one of the favorite destinations for the city’s sailing, polo-playing smart set, also attracting international celebrities such as supermodels Gisele Bundchen and Naomi Campbell. The club’s futuristic interior was designed by Isay Weinfeld, one of São Paulo’s most sought-after architects, and it includes a 20 sq-metre panel by the Campana brothers.
Those who favor the slightly grimier, more underground end of the clubbing spectrum are habitués of the D-Edge Club, also located in São Paulo. With LED panels synced to the beats, Daft Punk decor and doors that stay open until noon, D-Edge — which was opened in 2003 — became the ultimate clubbing address for the city’s discerning e-music aficionados.
But few places in Brazil have experienced such a dynamic growth in the e-music business as the city of Balneário Camboriú, a busy summer resort that is fast becoming Brazil’s answer to Miami. Located in he biggest tourist region in the south of the country, Balneário Camboriú hosts more than one million Brazilian and foreign tourists every year, a lot of them visiting just for enjoying its nightlife. The city, which is located in the state of Santa Catarina, is the home of the two best clubs in Brazil, according to the bible of electronic music, Britain’s DJ Magazine.
The Green Valley club, which is listed by the publication as the third best club in the world, occupies a gigantic tarpaulin-covered arena at the foot of a giant valley dense with lush rainforest and surrounded by numerous bars on wooden platforms. Handpicking only the most internationally recognised DJ talent, Green Valley can pull in up to US$1.6 million per night. The other club is Warung, which is actually located in the division between Balneário Camboriú and its neighbouring city of Itajaí. Filled with to the brim with VIP areas, Warung consistently delivers something more refined — hosting residencies from the world’s biggest underground club brands.
And as the well-known capital of e-music in Brazil, Balneário Camboriú is just about to get an upgrade: Ibiza’s Space Club partnered up with a group of Brazilian nightlife developers in a new $3.5 million venue set to be inaugurated next October in the city, in an area of over 1.7 million sq-feet, while the nightclub franchise Pacha Group, which is also based in the Spanish island, is already considering the possibility of investing there as well.
Electronic music has been taking over the hearts and minds of youths all over the world for some time now. Originating over 30 years ago in urban Chicago and Detroit, the concept was designed to reassemble mundane disco tracks and give them greater appeal to those tired of listening to music about heartbreak, and looking to feel liberated as an individual.
In Brazil — as the numbers prove — the party’s just begun.
by Cristiana Tejo | Source: Flash Art
The current decade in Brazil began with a so-called new phenomenon: the artistgroup. More than following an international tendency or a new urge toward sociability, the Brazilian artists’ initiatives united against the lack of active and innovative art spaces in tune with new art trends, responding to a sense that bureaucracies and market forces were not compatible with the questions raised by this generation. At the same time, we observed the first results of globalisation in our art system.
On one hand, art production started to gain more international attention and respect thanks to the efforts of gallerists and curators (in particular the work of Paulo Herkenhoffin the XXIV São Paulo Biennial) and the recognition of the importance of Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark. On the other hand, the decentralisation of the capital, along with improved technology, led to an increase in the flux of information, which caused a redesign of the politics of museums and a need for more professionalism, most notably in the peripheral capital cities.
Since the mid-90s, we have seen the emergence and solidification of new points on the national art map, the renewal of museums of contemporary art and the founding of art galleries in cities such as Recife, Fortaleza, Salvador, Belém and Belo Horizonte. It is remarkable how the art scenes of these places took advantage of the confrontation between their local peculiarities and the global repertoire, burgeoning with this new influx of exhibitions, professionals and concepts generated by the institutional chain, not to mention the growth in visibility for the local art scene. It provoked serious renovation not only in art production but also in the emergence of new curators that have been recognized nationally.
In 5 years, politically-driven cultural policies started to share space and legitimacy with expertise in art and generated a more professional atmosphere, giving the opportunity for many art professionals to remain in their original cities without feeling obliged to immigrate to São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. It is always worthwhile remembering that Brazil is a continent of diversity and co-existence of various temporalities to which the contemporary art field adds new layers of complexity. We can now perceive that the Brazilian art system has matured.
However, this affirmation needs to be contextualised. It does not mean that we have reached ideal institutional and financial stability, but that we have achieved a new level of dialogue and consciousness regarding public and private policies towards the art field. In recent years we have witnessed the qualification of conditions offered by institutions to artists (both public and private — especially art centres run by banks) and the rise of new fellowships, funding and prizes for young artists, such as the Rumos Artes Visuais Itaú, the CNI SESI Marcantonio Vilaça Prize, the Museu de Arte da Pampulha Grant, the Salão de Artes de Pernambuco Grant and the Iberê Camargo Grant. Additionally, there are myriad art spaces that promote emergent art: Centro Cultural São Paulo, Centro Mariantonia, Paço das Artes, Funarte, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, MAMAM no Pátio, SESC, Galeria Marcantonio Vilaça, and so on.
Obsolete in major parts of the globe, the ‘salon’ of art is extremely popular in Brazil. These bring legitimacy and visibility, helping to facilitate the acquisition of works by museums and collections, especially by young artists not represented by art galleries and whose works do not otherwise sell easily. In South Brazil, for instance, each major city has its own regional salon that attracts mainly local artists. However, the main salons can offer up to R$20,000 (approximately US$10,000) in prize money and receive almost 2,000 applications from all parts of continental Brazil.
Concomitantly, the young art scene boosted the appearance of new art galleries and lead to more prestigious art galleries opening experimental spaces dedicated to the young generation. This phenomenon can be found in all parts of the country; nevertheless São Paulo, as Brazil’s most important city and the financial heart of the country, is the central example. Galeria Fortes Vilaça was one of the first galleries to invest in new talents since its beginning. Its founder, Marcantonio Vilaça, set new parameters for professional art galleries and pursued inclusion of Brazilian contemporary art in the international scene, at the same time laying his bets on the young artists of the 90s, such as Ernesto Neto, Beatriz Milhazes, Jac Leirner, Adriana Varejão and Valeska Soares, among others. After his death, the gallery continued to promote young artists, however with much less emphasis.
Since its foundation in 2002, Galeria Vermelho has assumed the place of Marcantonio Vilaça in terms of presenting new talent. It has brought freshness to the art market with its mission of dealing exclusively with new artists, in particular those who have just finished college. The aim of its founders, Eduardo Brandão and Eliana Finkelstein, was to plant an experimental space where conviviality, research, risk and (also) the market could peacefully live together. The gallery has been hosting events and curatorial projects of young curators like VERBO (an annual Performance Festival curated by Daniela Labra) and ISTMO (an experimental project curated by Ana Paula Cohen that took place in Galeria Vermelho between 2005-2006). Its cast embraces artists who are starting to gain recognition abroad, such as Marcelo Cidade, Detanico and Lain, Chiara Banfi and others. Also notable within the young art scene are Marilá Dardot, Lia Chaia, Nicolás Robbio, Cinthia Marcelle, Fabiano Marques, Leandro Lima and Gisela Motta. Recently, Galeria Vermelho began to also work with experienced artists like Daniel Senise, Ana Maria Tavares and Rosangela Rennó.
Even those galleries that do not completely embrace the flag of young art still maintain strategies of renewal through project rooms and residencies for young international artists. Galeria Leme and Galeria Nara Roesler are examples of this tendency. Increased international attention on the Brazilian art system makes this a generation in transit.
More residencies in Brazil and around the globe suggest a reality on the move, representing a recurrent strategy of improvement, contextualization and new visibility for artists from Brazil. Nowadays we can find residencies in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Recife and Salvador. In fact, it is much easier and more rewarding to be a young artist in Brazil than to be a more experienced one, as the main projects and efforts are focused on emerging art, creating a kind of limbo for those artists who are already 20 years into their trajectory.
I began this brief essay by mentioning the artists’ initiatives and their reaction to a dysfunctional art system. Seven years on from the first identification of this group fever and the improvement of art system conditions, we watch a new dynamic that articulates two places — inside and outside the institution — in a more propositional way that breaks the outmoded dichotomy between institutions and artists. Initiatives and spaces that were fundamental to and synonymous with the Brazilian art circuit do not exist anymore. Some resisted and new ones appeared. On the part of the institution, we can detect the absorption of the discourse of experimentalism, in particular in art museums. In this respect, some Brazilian institutions share the concerns and solutions adopted by museums in Europe, the United States and Asia. It become commonplace to open new buildings or inaugurate experimental projects.
Brazil is experiencing a revitalisation and professionalisation of its art system. Benefiting most from this new perspective and visibility is the new generation.
By Kev Geoghegan | Source: BBC
Over the summer, a group of some 30 Brazilian artists will be putting their mark on London in their own distinctive way as part of the UK-wide Festival 2012 arts programme, which runs alongside the Olympics.
In the case of Breno Pineschi, that means sticking up 10,000 brightly coloured paper bananas around the capital. Pineschi is one of 30 artists invited to the capital to take part in Rio Occupation London, part of the London 2012 Festival. His installation, the aptly-titled Tropical Cluster No. 1 is, he says, “my way to bring a real feeling of colour and happiness from my city Rio and my country”.
The project has been commissioned by Rio de Janeiro’s State Culture Secretariat and co-produced by the Battersea Arts Centre. The artists will work and stay in some of London’s most revered galleries and museums including the Southbank Centre, Somerset House, Tate Modern and, in Pineschi’s case, the V&A.
“It’s incredible for a graphic designer, the best place in the world I’m very happy,” he says.
Its aim is not only to show off the best in new Brazilian art but also to create a cultural link between London and Rio - which is due to host the Olympics in 2016. It has also been inspired, in part, by events in 1986 when 100 Brazilian artists launched a cultural invasion of the football World Cup in Mexico.
Some of the highlights of Occupation Rio include the Brazil Kitchen, a band made of chefs who will jam and cook for their audience.
Pedro Rivera treads a slightly more controversial line with his work which will see him showing London street vendors how to use 60 specially designed, collapsible tables to evade the police.
Artist and film-maker Christiane Jatahy is a co-director of Rio Occupation. Her own contribution is to approach Londoners and ask them if they would like to invite a Brazilian artist into their home to create a piece of art.
Paul Heritage, executive director of People’s Palace Projects - the UK arts charity which is producing the event - says: “We’ve had some incredible letters, like, ‘I’ve just moved into this street and I don’t know anyone and this would be a great chance to invite my neighbours’.
“A couple found a stash of tequila under their stairs and thought this would be a good excuse to open it, and there was a beautiful one from a woman who said her 92-year-old great aunt has dementia ‘and the warmth and rhythms of Brazilians, I think she would really get something from’.”
Joao Sanchez’s El Boxer Amateur is a series of paintings on rice paper hanging above the foyer of the BAC, showing tattooed fighters between bouts.
Laura Lima is one of the more established artists invited to participate. Her work has been exhibited at the Manchester International Festival - alongside Marina Abramovic - and is displayed at the Modern Museum of Sao Paulo in Brazil. At Sunday’s launch, she showed a version of her work, Man = flesh / woman = flesh - sweet. Described as a man sucking a sweet “with open mouth using a special device”, he is revealed to be wearing an uncomfortable looking headbrace. She says her new work will “combine cinema and visual art”.
“I’m going to have a film set and will stream live to the Shortwave cinema in Bermondsey over three different dates. People don’t have to stay for the whole thing. They can just come and go. I’m not telling a story.”
Christiane Jatahy says the project presents the artists “who represent a much bigger group of artists in Rio” with a serious opportunity.
“What will I bring, what can I create and what can I take away with me afterwards? The occupation is not just a platform showing what we have done, but to create something new,” she adds.
Ahead of the Olympics in 2016, Rio de Janeiro will also play host to the football World Cup in 2014. The expected celebrations will almost certainly reinforce popular perceptions of the city and its culture of beach football, Samba and caipirinhas.
“Those things are part of Brazilian culture,” says Jatahy. “We’re not denying them but perhaps we can look at them more critically; our artists reference them but with a new way of looking at them”.
The logistics of moving 30 artists and their equipment halfway around the world has brought its own difficulties.
“Usually for something like this we meet the artists beforehand and we spend weeks planning it, whereas we had just a day to set up the 30 shows,” says BAC’s Sarah O’Connor.
“Flexibility and compromise were the two words in order.”
Last year, fears were raised in the cultural sector that the Olympics would impact negatively on audiences for shows and exhibitions in the capital. However, a recent Onepoll survey suggested more than two million ticket holders had already bought tickets to a concert, musical, exhibition or play.
O’Connor agrees people are starting to engage with that most ephemeral of concepts, the Cultural Olympiad.
“Theatres were scared that it would be quiet but it’s not quiet now,” she says. “I think people are beginning to get an idea of what that very fancy phrase means, and it means samba drums with speakers built in and Brazilians singing in corridors and showing films in council chambers.
“It’s about the mixing of cultures.”
In the spirit of exchange, plans are already under way for a group of British artists to make the journey over to Rio next year.
by Julia Kollewe | Source: The Guardian
Most things Brazilian are hot – from the Copacabana to the carnival. Art is no different.
“I’ve been to Russia, China and Brazil in the last few years and Brazil is the most interesting one of the BRIC countries,” said Frieze co-director Matthew Slotover. “It has an incredible history of architecture and design through modernism, and that has really fed into the art scene.”
Brazil’s contemporary art scene, already vibrant, took off after major corporate tax breaks were introduced in the 1990s. Companies can get back up to 100% of their cultural investments in tax rebates. As a result, banks and telecoms companies have emerged as big cultural sponsors.
Among the banks, Itaú, Banco do Brasil, Santander and Caixa Econômica Federal have all set up contemporary art centres or multimedia cultural hubs around the country. The state-owned post office group, Correios, founded an important cultural centre in Rio, while telecoms companies Oi, Vivo and Embratel are also major sponsors, alongside the federation of industry and the federation of commerce.
The Lei Rouanet allows individuals and companies to invest 6% and 4% respectively of their tax due in cultural activities. In 2008, more than R$1bn was invested in culture. But the tax breaks have been criticised for allowing companies to advertise for free and for letting them set the cultural agenda. The government has proposed changes to the law, under which companies will no longer be able to use the tax rebate to invest entirely in their own cultural centres. The government will also gain more influence over where the money is invested to ensure that it is spread around the country and does not only go to the big cities.
Matteo Moriconi, who launched Brazil’s first virtual art museum in 1997 with support from the government and Petrobras, believes the tax breaks are a good thing. “I’ve lived in London for two years and now live in Rome and there is no similar law based on these principles – and it works.”
The most successful projects in Brazil are those where public and private funding is combined. A publicly funded museum will usually only have a big blockbuster show if it is funded by a big company. There are exceptions, however, for example the giant Centro Cultural São Paulo, which is completely funded by the city.
However, galleries are hamstrung by punitive rates of import tax (36%) and VAT on art, which are among the highest in the world. “This makes it very hard for institutions and private collectors to be a part of the international art market,” said Jochen Volz, former artistic director at Inhotim.
Deep in the mountain forest in the south-east, one of the most vibrant contemporary art hubs is growing. Inhotim, a non-profit organisation, was opened to the public in 2006 by the Brazilian mining magnate and art collector Bernardo Paz. He is married to one of Brazil’s leading contemporary artists, Adriana Varejão, who is represented by the Victoria Miro gallery in London. The 3,000 acre Inhotim, near Belo Horizonte, houses some 600 works of art by over 100 artists in 14 galleries and pavilions, in the midst of botanical gardens. It has a very international collection, while most other art centres mainly show Brazilian and Latin American artists.
Volz said Inhotim is playing an important role in the decentralisation of the art scene. With hundreds of galleries and museums, São Paulo and Rio dominate the Brazilian art scene, but in recent years Recife and Salvador in the north-east and Belo Horizonte in the south-east have also become important contemporary art hubs. Regional museums and galleries run by city or state governments have sprung up across the country thanks to an increase in public art funding.
Brazil’s Ministry of Culture has received its biggest budget to date this year, amounting to R$2.2bn, up from R$1.4bn last year. A problem is that not all the money ever gets spent, says Contas Abertas, a non-governmental organisation that monitors the nation’s accounts.
Experts say that Brazil has become a much more exciting place for young artists than more experienced ones. Some prestigious galleries have opened experimental spaces. Galeria Fortes Vilaca was one of the first galleries to invest in new talent and experimental projects, but since the death of its founder ten years ago, another São Paulo gallery, Galeria Vermelho, founded in 2002, has taken up the mantle.
There has been a rise in residencies, bursaries and fellowships for young artists around the country. The traditional salons where artists can submit work and compete for prizes are being revamped. In Belo Horizonte, the Museu de Arte da Pampulha, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, offers young artists scholarships to live and work in the city for one year. In Recife, a salon was used to develop cultural projects with several Indian tribes.
The São Paulo Biennial, which started in 1951 and is the oldest biennial after Venice, has gone through a difficult patch but is trying to reinvent itself with a new focus on video art this year.
The more commercial SP Arte fair, which is held in the Biennial building in São Paulo, has been growing every year since its creation in 2005. It hosts galleries, including some from the UK, US, France and Spain, in April.
“If you go to São Paulo,” Volz added, “you’d be surprised how many young artists there are who are producing very interesting work.”
The Instituto Inhotim announced the appointment of Eungie Joo as Director of Art and Cultural Programmes. Joo’s appointment coincides with the departure of Director Jochen Volz, who has been appointed incoming Head of Programmes at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Rodrigo Moura, curator at Inhotim since 2004, will assume the position of Deputy Director of Art and Cultural Programmes.
Eungie Joo joins Instituto Inhotim from the New Museum in New York, where she has served as Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Programmes since 2007. She brings with her wide experience in contemporary exhibition making, art education, cultural programming, and the creation of innovative community-focused initiatives. In 2012, Joo was the curator of the New Museum Triennial, The Ungovernables, an exhibition that marked her vision in presenting significant artistic production from different parts of the world, including South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia to North American audiences.
Roseni Sena, Executive Director of the Instituto Inhotim, said: “Welcoming Eungie Joo to the team of Inhotim marks an important moment in the institution’s young history. Her experience and vision will make a great contribution to shaping Inhotim as a unique place where contemporary art, botany, education, and community programmes are considered and developed as means of social transformation.”
According to chief curator Allan Schwartzman: “Eungie’s organisational experience and her singular curatorial perspective make her an ideal collaborator for our distinct way of collecting and presenting art. With Eungie on board, we will be even better equipped to fulfill the vision of Inhotim.”
As of September 2012, Joo will lead Inhotim’s contemporary art and education departments, which currently engage with more than 120 collaborators. Together with curators Allan Schwartzman, Jochen Volz, Júlia Rebouças, and Rodrigo Moura, she will take a leading role in developing Inhotim’s internationally renowned contemporary art collection, exhibitions, and programmes.
On her appointment, Eungie Joo comments: “It is an honour to join the visionary team at Inhotim whose unrivaled dedication to permanent commissions and artists’ pavilions has created a remarkable museum and compelling community programs. I look forward to participating in the continued growth of this unique project.”
At the New Museum, Joo spearheaded the Museum as Hub, an experimental international art initiative that explores artistic, curatorial, and institutional practice while serving as an important resource for the public to learn about contemporary art from around the world. As part of this initiative, she commissioned Night School by Anton Vidokle, Post-Living Anti-Action Theater by My Barbarian, and Project for a Revolution in New York, or How to Arrest a Hurricane by Ayreen Anastas, Rene Gabri, and Programs for Research and Outreach. She also presented the exhibitions Nikhil Chopra: Yog Raj Chitrakar: Memory Drawing IX, Voice and Wind: Haegue Yang, and Carlos Motta: We Who Feel Differently. In addition to contributing to various exhibition catalogues and magazines, she is editor of Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education and co-editor of Art Spaces Directory. In 2009, Joo served as commissioner for the Korean Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, presenting the exhibition Condensation: Haegue Yang. Joo was founding Director and Curator of the Gallery at REDCAT, Los Angeles (2003-2007), where she commissioned major new works and exhibitions by Mark Bradford, Taro Shinoda, Damián Ortega, Sora Kim, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Kara Walker, and others. She received the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement in 2006.
Jochen Volz, outgoing Artistic Director of Instituto Inhotim, will assume his new post as Head of Programmes at the Serpentine Gallery in London after this year’s inaugurations at Inhotim, scheduled for September 6. Volz joined Inhotim in 2004 as curator and from 2005 to 2007 also served as General Director of the institution. Under Volz’s artistic coordination, Inhotim opened twelve galleries and pavilions by artists including Adriana Varejao, Doris Salcedo, Doug Aitken,and Matthew Barney and numerous large-scale site-specific projects by Chris Burden, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and others. Volz will continue to serve on Inhotim’s board of curators.
by Javier Pes and Emily Sharpe | Source: The Art Newspaper
When we began our annual survey of the best attended exhibitions in 1996, to make the top 10 a show needed to attract around 3,000 visitors a day. In our survey of 2011 shows, to make the top ten required almost 7,000 visitors a day. Among them was Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, a posthumous tribute by the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. On average, more than 8,000 people a day went.
The increase in the number of people going to see the exhibitions in our surveys over the years has been remarkable. In 1996, around four million people went to the top ten shows. Last year almost six million people went to see the ten best-attended shows.
Rather than a US, European or Japanese institution, a Brazilian one, the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil’s (CCBB) Rio de Janeiro space, comes top. The building in the city’s centre hosted no less than 3 exhibitions that have made the top 10. All were free, with The Magical World of Escher being the most popular (9,700 visitors a day).
Brazil’s appetite for contemporary art is remarkable. The Brazilian mining billionaire Bernardo Paz’s massive art park, Inhotim, in a remote part of southeast Brazil, attracted around 770,000 visitors in total. Laurie Anderson at the CCBB in Rio attracted 6,930 visitors a day, and slightly more enjoyed work by the New York-based artist Mariko Mori (6,990 a day) at the same venue.
Impressionist, modern or Old Master shows used to dominate our annual survey. But, increasingly, contemporary artists figure highly. In 2011, Monet at the Grand Palais, Paris, attracted 913,000 visitors in total, or 7,600 a day. Anish Kapoor’s huge work Leviathan shown in the same space attracted almost that number, with 6,960 visitors a day. Back in 1997, Jasper Johns at the MoMA, New York, was the best-attended contemporary art show, attracting 2,700 visitors a day. Ten years ago, Richard Serra, again at MoMA, reached 8,600 visitors a day. In 2011, the best-attended solo artist show was Ai Weiwei’s installation of millions of ceramic seeds in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall; the Tate calculates that around 1.2 million visited.
But how did M.C. Escher become the world’s most popular artist? And how did Brazil surge to the top of the listings? Reasons include, among other things, the spectacular appeal of Escher mind-bending illusions; the popular appeal of a show that was devoted to as much to groovy interactive installations as art; the surging of social media among technology savvy Brazilians, which made the show go viral; and the unique position of the free-admission CCBB as a hub of Rio’s cultural life.
According to Pieter Tjabbes, curator and professor at the University of São Paulo, “the exhibition attracted a new audience for being interactive, fun, enchanting, and affordable. People who visited sent messages and photos to friends and family, which created great word-of-mouth. Social networks were instrumental in publicising the exhibition. The CCBB has been a big innovator in this respect, and has gained well-deserved prominence as a successful developer of new audiences. Other Brazilian cultural institutions also stand to benefit from this because this new public is more curious and will attend other high-quality exhibitions.”
Marcos Mantoan, former director of Rio’s CCBB [at the time of The Magical World of Escher], and now the director of Sao Paulo’s CCBB, added “this show made me appreciate a word to which I hadn’t paid much attention before: interactivity. The exhibition’s success comes from daring to mix concepts from art and entertainment. The visitor will remember much more of an exhibition in which he/she could play with the works, or enter into simulations that explain the concept of the artwork. The mixture worked and we learned much about it.”
Source: Art Media Agency (AMA)
The Gagosian Gallery shows no intention of leaving the headlines. Having announced the opening of a new space in Bourget in autumn 2012, it is currently discovering Brazil. Rumour has it that the gallery may open a new location there.
Following the success of the exhibition Brazil: Reinvention of the Modern, displayed in 2011 at its Paris-based gallery, the Gagosian Gallery has announced its participation in the 2012 edition of the ArtRio fair, which will take place in Brazil from 12 to 16 September 2012. According to The New York Times on 19 July, Gagosian will display a large sculpture exhibition in a warehouse in Rio de Janeiro during the ArtRio event. Moreover, its stand will be designed by Brazilian designer Claudia Moreira Salles, who also designed the exhibition.
The sudden apparition of Gagosian in Rio de Janeiro recalls a similar event that took place in Russia in 2008. Following a collective exhibition at the Red October Chocolate Factory in Moscow, speculations about the opening of a gallery in the Russian capital began to spread. Gagosian currently owns eleven galleries around the world. However, it has yet to open a location in Russia. The art market in Brazil has experienced strong growth in recent years. It is indeed plausible that Gagosian would open a gallery in Brazil.