Art Basel CitiesBuenos Aires

The inspiring launch of Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires last November

In November 2017, over 4,000 people attended the curated conversations, masterclasses and music performances as the Art Basel Cities House came alive for the Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires initiative.

To celebrate the launch of Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires, an engaging week of conversations, masterclasses and music performances was held in the Argentine capital from November 2 – 5, 2017 at the Art Basel Cities House. 

Over 4,000 people dropped by to listen to some of the artworld’s leading Argentine and international professionals exchanging views, enjoying the excitement, energy and entertainment of the Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires program.

Patrick Foret, Director Business Initiatives, Art Basel said: “We have been delighted and truly overwhelmed by the great response we have received to our presence here in Buenos Aires this week. We very much look forward to continuing to work together over the coming months and to the Art Basel Cities week next September.”

A city with a thriving cultural life and rich artistic heritage, Buenos Aires is the first partner in the Art Basel Cities initiative. A multi-year collaboration with the vibrant Argentine capital, Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires was launched to expand the city’s cultural ecosystem and highlight its dynamic cultural scene, promoting it to a global audience and Art Basel’s extensive network.

Underlining the durational aspect of the partnership, Art Basel will collaborate with the Argentine art scene on a long-term basis. Launched this November at the House, the program aims at facilitating professional collaborations and cultural projects, and creating a stronger, more connected artworld. Key elements of the initiative include Crowdfunding. The Art Basel Cities House brought together prominent members of the artworld from Buenos Aires and around the world to share expertise and to explore ideas that will help define Art Basel Cities in the years to come.

“One special treat for us has been the Art Basel Cities House with the different workshops,” said Andreas Kurtz, Collector, Reutlingen, Germany.

Highlights of the week included a series of 90-minute, filled-to-capacity masterclasses led by international and Argentine experts such as Inti Guerrero on Artists and Curators Working Together; Aaron Cezar on The Residency Landscape; Stefan Benchoam on The Sustainable Non-Profit; and others.

The collaborative Parallel Rooms program saw 26 conversations with over 40 speakers taking place in several rooms of the Art Basel Cities House concurrently. Topics included: How can the artworld reach out to a broader audience? Can Argentine and Latin American art conquer the global artworld? Why should anyone collect art? And many more.

“The format of the [Parallel Rooms] talks, I predict, will be adopted by other platforms as it really encourages proper dialogue that is meaningful and not superficial,” said Azu Nwagbogu, Director, African Artists' Foundation (AAF), Lagos, Nigeria.

Renowned speakers at Parallel Rooms included: Guillermo Kuitca, Artist, Buenos Aires; Jean de Loisy, Director, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Marta Minujín, Artist, Buenos Aires; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Curator and Critic; Alec Oxenford, arteBA; and many others.

Argentine Artist Marta Minujín praised the format, saying: “The idea of mixing artists, curators and collectors was excellent and fun.”

The classic academic or professional ‘Office Hours’ were ironically transfigured by the informal night-time atmosphere of the Art Basel Cities House. Speakers included: Jorge Macchi; Victoria Colmegna; Ronaldo Fraga; Alberto Passolini; Diego Radivoy; and others.

“The setting was impressive and relaxing. It worked well because it was so clearly different from a classroom or auditorium,” enthused Leopol Mones Cazón, Gallerist and Vice-President of Meridiano Buenos Aires.

A string of music sessions featured diverse Argentine talents and showcased guest musicians Ceci & Gastix, Ibiza Pareo, Villa Diamante, I Need Sponsors and Carisma who took to the stage to offer their signature sounds and invited the audience to loosen up and connect.

The vitality and vibrancy that characterized the Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires week were echoed throughout the city with events and exhibitions taking place simultaneously. In conjunction with the Night of the Museums, a yearly Buenos Aires cultural experience where thousands visit museums, galleries, government and private historic buildings to see exhibitions, live music and performances throughout the city, the Art Basel Cities House stayed open until 2AM running a comprehensive night program for the public.

Our International delegation were honored to be invited to private viewings of exhibitions and events including highlights such as: a Private Visit of Les Visitants, Guillermo Kuitca’s perspective of the Fondation Cartier Collection at the Centro Cultural Kirchner (CCK); a fashion show held at MUNTREF Hotel de Inmigrantes; a Preview of arteBA Focus; a performance at FAENA Arts Center; and so much more.

“As international visitors, we were welcomed into cultural spaces, galleries, museums, even private homes and studios which allowed us to begin to understand the richness and complexity of Buenos Aires's cultural richness,” said Mary Sabbatino, Vice President, Gallerie Lelong, Art Basel Joint Selection Committee Member, New York, USA.

From the Buenos Aires art community, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback, praising the sincere warmth, generosity, and enthusiasm of everyone who attended the November launch of Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires, which marked the first step of our long-term partnership with the city and our commitment to its art community.

“Overall, the experience of Buenos Aires was one that whetted my appetite for more. There seemed to be a lot of energy embodied by the different foundations, galleries, and institutions,” said Trevor Smith, Curator, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, USA.

Following last year's November launch, Cecilia Alemani, Director and Chief Curator of High Line Art, New York and Curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale, will direct an inspiring, city-wide week of public art on September 6 – 12, 2018. Over the coming months, Alemani will work closely with cultural partners in Buenos Aires on the week's program. We look forward to our return.