"Barcelona / Such a beautiful horizon: Critical social infrastructure to promote art scene health resilience" sessions with BAR Tool 2018–19 participants

Poster produced for the 2015 seminar at the Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco. Photo: Latitudes.

Latitudes has been invited to lead three closed-door sessions with BAR Tool's 2018–19 participants Milagros Bedoya, Arash Fayez, Adëláide Feriot, Fran Glez, Céline Mathieu, Marina Salvo, Gabriella Torres-Ferrer. The sessions will take place on October 29, 2018; January 22 and March 5, 2019.

Titled "Barcelona / Such a beautiful horizon: Critical social infrastructure to promote art scene health resilience", the three-part seminar will draw on the qualitative analysis of the legacy of three meetings of the "Near Future Artworlds Curatorial Foresight Disruption Group" convened in 2015 (Vessel–MADA International Curatorial Retreat, Bari, Italy; Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, USA; Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK). The invitation is to collectively instigate a collective systematic review of proposed decisive factors that underpin the psychological fitness and physical well-being of a city art scene, with Barcelona as a case study.

With a focus on developing taxonomies and diagnostics, as well as therapies and triage, this strand of BAR Tool will culminate in a series of institutional simulations and operations. Viva! Barcelona! Such a beautiful horizon!

BAR TOOL is a practice-based training program articulated around research, production and presentation processes. Conceived by BAR project in collaboration with Fundació Antoni Tàpies and Fabra i Coats – Art Factory, Barcelona.


RELATED CONTENT:

  • Cover Story—June 2018: Near-Future Artworlds Curatorial Disruption Foresight Group 4 June 2018
  • Sediments of the Geologic Time 4-week residency at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity 10 October 2017
  • Documentation of Latitudes' talks at the Athens Biennale summit and Tabakalera, Donostia-San Sebastián, November 2015 19 February 2016
  • 'Near-Future Artworlds Curatorial Disruption Foresight Group' seminar convenes in its third iteration in Birmingham's Eastside Projects, 15 November 2015 11 November 2015
  • Session with first-year participants of the MA Curatorial Practice at the California College of the Arts (CCA), San Francisco, 8 September 15 September 2015
  • Guest Faculty of the Thematic Residency 'Blueprint for Happiness' at The Banff Centre, Canada, 27 July–8 August 2015 16 July 2015 
  • Tutors of the 2015 International Curatorial Retreat, 9–13 May, Bari (Italy) 17 May 2015 
  • Lead Facilitators, Curating Lab 2014–Curatorial Intensive, National University of Singapore (11–14 June), symposium (14 June, 15–17h) and a field trip to Hong Kong (16–20 June) 30 May 2014




Report in quotations from 'Talking Galleries', 19–21 September 2011, MACBA auditorium

A report in quotations from the first evening's two panels and the first session of the second day of Talking Galleries.

19 September 2011
15.30h: Welcome by
Ferran Mascarell, Regional Minister of Culture of the Generalitat
Jaume Ciurana, Deputy Mayor of Culture, Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation of Barcelona
Faustino Diaz Fortuny, Deputy Director General for the Promotion of Cultural Industries and Foundations and Patronage of the Ministry of Culture
Adriaan Raemdonck, President of FEAGA (Federation of European Art Galleries Association)
Llucià Homs, main promoter of the project TALKING GALLERIES
Bartomeu Marí, MACBA's Director




Llucià Homs: "according to an art market report commissioned by TEFAF (The European Fine Art Foundation), 51% of the art business is done by gallerists and 49% by auction houses. 30% of that is done in art fairs."

Faustino Diaz: "Galeries are the basis for the construction of value". "Galleries are a fundamental cultural sector for the economic development of knowledge". 

Mascarell: "Talking Galleries should connect Catalan art to the international trends and vice-versa". "Artists are the ones making sense of our world".

16.00 h: 'The new role of the Gallerist in the art market' with:
Casey Kaplan, Casey Kaplan Gallery (New York)
Claes Nordenhake, Galerie Nordenhake (Berlín, Stockholm)
Emilio Álvarez, Galeria Àngels Barcelona (Barcelona)
Moderated by: Ann Demeester,  Director of De Appel Arts Centre (Amsterdam)



Ann Demeester: "We are not able to project a 20-50 year future anymore"..."are galleries going to become agencies for artists or are they able to foster new experiments in a globalised 21st century?"; "Collaboration should not be an enemy of competition"; "Galleries are a site for free education"; "A gallery should perform an informal efficiency"

Emilio Álvarez: "The work of a gallery is articulated in connection with the past. Memory gives meaning, one constructs value through time". "Circuits of the artworld are closed, although the product we present is open."; "A gallery has a ongoing relationship with an artist and shows him/her continuously over time, no institution will give a solo show to an artist 3 times"; "A gallery has a single monogamous relationship, museums have plural relationships with artists." 

Casey Kaplan: We (with David Zwirner and Friedrich Petzel amongst others) have done New York Gallery Week (NYGW) twice now, but I don't think is necessary to repeat it again and again if, for instance, Frieze New York is starting in May 2012"; "We are taking the risks, we produce art, we research artists, basically we do it first and then everyone follows";"A gallery is about trust in your artists and them in you. Is a small family extension that grows organically. It's also about constant reinvestment in a new space, in a new piece, in shipping ridiculous works to art fairs to show your ambition."

Claes Nordenhake: "New art should be shown in galleries first, thereafter in art fairs, kunsthalles, etc. Not the other way around!"; "A gallerist is an eternal improvisor, a cleaner, a guard, an interior designer, a carpenter, a shipping agent, a graphic designer, a bookeeper, an art historian, a teacher and sometimes a professor, a therapist, a pimp and sometimes a lover, a storage administrator, a divorce councilor, a good banker, a sympathetic drinking companion, an arrogant bastard, an interpreter, a travel agent, a cook (professional or amateur), a waiter, a restaurateur, a philosopher (or at least in late hours of the night...), an actor, a business strategist, a secretary (where the boss is the artist)... 


18.00 h: 'Dealing with the economic crisis' with
Georgina Adam, Journalist Financial Times (London)
Robert Tornabell, Professor of Economics at ESADE Business School (Barcelona)
Soledad Lorenzo, Galería Soledad Lorenzo (Madrid)
Moderated by: Carlos Urroz, Director ARCOmadrid (Madrid)



Dr. Robert Tornabell: "The most profitable investments are first art, then gold, and then...I don't know!"

Georgina Adam: "The size of the market is U$ 43 billion: 21 bn in auction, 22 bn in dealership. The global share in 2006 breaks up in 46% for the US; 27% for UK, 6% for France; 5% for China, 16% Others. In 2010 is 34% for the US; 22% for UK, 5% for France, a huge increase to 23% for China and, 15% Others". "Today, there are 20 top auction houses, 11 of which are chinese, which did not exist a decade ago"; "Today money is not inherited, it is made."

20 September 2011
10.00 h: 'The future of art fairs' with
Victor Gisler, Mai 36 Galerie (Zurich)
Noah Horowitz, Director VIP Art Fair (New York)
Pierre Huber, Galerie Art & Public (Geneva)
Moderated by: Carles Guerra, Chief Curator of the MACBA (Barcelona)



Carles Guerra: "Barcelona was considering initiating a fair, but with ARCOmadrid nearby and seeing how profits stand now, maybe a meeting amongst professionals such as this, is the way forward"

Noah Horowitz: "The 1970s market was trade; today it's retail and event-led" ; "Going back to TEFAF's figures: 30% of the business is done in fairs, that's obviously an average figure because for some galleries fairs are 70% of their year sales"; "The VIP Art Fair is accessible, international, transparent, communicative, it is still a one-to-one relationship with the buyer"

Victor Gisler: "A gallery shows – tells – sells". "Art fairs like Art Basel have become so hugely important that they now validate quality. If an artits hasn't been shown in Basel, it may seem not valuable". "Initiatives like the VIP Art Fair are great for telling, maybe not so much for selling, but it is online, and that is the language of the next generation which you can not neglect, and one must embrace."

Biographies of the speakers
More about Talking Galleries.
Follow #talkinggalleries




Süddeutsche Zeitung reports the "malaise" of Spanish contemporary art

Last weekend an article on the Spanish art landscape appeared in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (pdf 248KB), which was later reported and summarised in English by Jennifer Allen in Artforum.com's International News Digest (week 12 January 2008).

According to the writer, Merten Worthmann, the Spanish art scene lacks experimentation and this is effecting Spanish galleries as well as ARCO, the country's main art fair. The whole discussion as to why Spanish contemporary art is not where it should be on the international map is not an easy one to tackle. The truth is, there is not one reason – there are as many as there are challenges. Although a lot has been achieved in the last 30 years of democracy and today we have many museums and art centres, the question is now not just about more, but about improving and investing in the existing quality.

Here is a 'shopping list' for starters: renewed focus on debate and theory with productive confrontations; targeted resources for medium-scale institutions; engaged art magazines and cultural supplements with less 'press release-y' or purely descriptive writing; simplification and modernisation of the 'cultural-export' model of funding and bureaucracy to reflect contemporary practice; wider transparency in selection processes for key curatorial positions; pragmatic vocational teaching at graduate level (and a life for post-Picasso art history); a competitive postgraduate art practice programme that meets the international standards of Amsterdam's Rijksakademie or Frankfurt's Städelschule; improved teaching of foreign languages; fiscal benefits to autónomos (self-employed) on a par with other EU countries...

The list continues. Without trying to sound profound or political, changes have to be made from within through sheer initiative, and that, alongside rabid generosity, is surely the way forward. It is certainly not all doom and gloom (we would not be here otherwise!), but the current economic climate will certainly focus the minds as well on the 'values that we value'. Onwards 2009!
Here is Artforum's summary...

REPORT FROM SPAIN (Artforum.com, International News Digest)
 
In anticipation of ARCO, the Süddeutsche Zeitung’s Merten Worthmann delivers a mixed report from Spain. According to Worthmann, the young Spanish arts scene is missing some experimentation—a deficiency that has had a negative impact on both galleries and the Madrid-based fair. Moreover, the Centre d’Art Santa Mónica—which has featured exhibitions by younger artists—will be closing at the end of January, according to a directive from the Catalan minister of culture. “Barcelona is a kind of anti-Berlin,” says Bartomeu Marí, head of Barcelona’s MACBA. “A city that doesn’t know how to attract any artists.” For Worthmann, the closure of Santa Mónica is a sign of a larger malaise. “The Spanish arts scene suffers from its weak connection to central Europe, the center of the market, and of discourses,” writes Worthmann, who cites the lack of both an international public and a national network. “To be an artist in Spain is a handicap, both inside and outside the country,” artist Jorge Galindo told the newspaper.

Ferran Barenblit, who was until recently the director of Santa Mónica, and who now heads the art center Dos de Mayo outside Madrid, believes that Spain doesn’t have enough international pull and has lost its “exotic” status in the ever-expanding European community. “Barenblit can be very critical with respect to the homegrown arts scene,” writes Worthmann. “But he holds the unclear reception from outside the country responsible for the lack of resonance.” Chus Martínez, who headed the Frankfurt Kunstverein before recently heading to Barcelona to direct the MACBA collection, adds some “geopolitical” arguments. “Germans, for example, orient themselves above all toward the United States and, since reunification, strongly toward the east,” Martínez told the newspaper. “Spain long existed on the outside. We were never a stop on the Grand Tour, nor could we profit later from the Marshall Plan.” The Franco dictatorship, which ended just over thirty years ago, also played a major role in the isolation of the country’s artists. Despite the end of the dictatorship, many artists still leave the country. And despite the rise of several spectacular exhibition sites—MUSAC in León, MACBA in Barcelona, Herzog and de Meuron’s Caixaforum in Madrid, Gehry’s Guggenheim in Bilbao, and Madrid’s Matadero, a multidisciplinary center that will be fully complete in 2011—few institutions have managed to create a “solid profile.” “For regional politicians, often the architectural gesture was more important than the ongoing maintenance of an ambitious program,” writes Worthmann, who adds that museum directors are often at the mercy of changing ruling parties of the government. Despite new directives for running museums from the minister of culture, the sudden closure of Santa Mónica as an art center is a case in point.

As for ARCO, a public initiative dating from the 1980s, the new director Lourdes Fernández will be decreasing the number of Spanish galleries in order to increase international participation at the fair. Last year, the fair dedicated more space to curatorial projects featuring artworks with an experimental edge. “And the display window has long functioned in both directions,” writes Worthmann. International collectors acquire Spanish art while Spanish collectors are increasingly acquiring works by international artists. In 2009, all purchases may well be welcome, whatever the artist’s origin.

On another note, Matt Elmore from the The Art Newspaper has also written about the Barcelona art scene, though giving a much more simplistic and superficial account - including mistakes such as the "Santa Monica space as a visual arts centre devoted to Catalan artists...", when only one of the three exhibition spaces it had was penciled for Catalan or Spanish artists. See archive of previous shows to see exhibition history between 2003-9.




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