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Prince and Princess of Asturias Visit ARCOmadrid as It Rewards the Art of Collecting Art
The Prince and Princess of Asturias look at some of the works of art presented at ARCOmadrid 2010. EFE/J.J. Guillén.

MADRID.- For the 13th year running, the Amigos de ARCOmadrid Association granted its ARCOmadrid Collecting Awards. The prize-giving ceremony was held during the official cocktail reception-opening dinner of the International Contemporary Art Fair, offered by the Region and the City of Madrid at IFEMA North Conventions Centre. The winners of this year’s awards are Carmen Buqueras de Riera and Emilio Pi & Helena Fernandino, who share the prize in the category of Spanish art collecting, and The J. Paul Getty Trust in the international collecting category.

The idea behind these awards is to reward and encourage the work carried out by both Spanish and international collectors, one of the Amigos de ARCOmadrid Association’s mandates since it was founded in 1987. Throughout ARCOmadrid’s 29 years so far, the fair has played a key role in actively encouraging art collecting and has always promoted the dissemination of private collections as a means of strengthening the Spanish art market and to reactivate its circulation, supporting contemporary art creation. In this task, ARCOmadrid works hand in hand with public and private institutions to expand the art heritage, another fair’s founding missions.

The Amigos de ARCOmadrid Association, chaired by José Luis Álvarez Margaride and made up by altruistic champions of art, has played an instrumental role in this task by supporting and promoting educational programmes, as well as in the research and dissemination of contemporary art creation. Its activities also include the support to the International Contemporary Art Experts Forum, held concurrently with the fair, and the courses on Contemporary Art Appreciation held at Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. Other tasks of the association are the specific support of photography through Photographic Glimpses, and the ARCOmadrid Collecting Awards, consisting of an A-shaped sculpture given to the winners which has been presented during the opening dinner of the fair in the last thirteen years.

The winners in the Spanish category in the twelve previous editions are: Fundación Rosón Arte Contemporáneo (RAC), Pilar Citoler- Circa XX, Fundación Coca-Cola, Fundación Juan March, Fundación Central Hispano, Fundación Testimoni de La Caixa, Fundacíón M.E.R, Fundació Fotocolectania, Fernando Meana, Fundación Telefónica, Fundación La Caixa, Chase Manhattan Bank, Colección de Arte Contemporáneo, Grupo Urvasco and Colección Bergé.

Meanwhile, in the international collecting category, the previous awards went to Lekha & Anupam Poddar from India, Jumex, Mexico, Gulbenkian, Portugal, Caisse de Depôts et Consignatións, France, Dakis Joamou, Greece, Sammlung Essl, Austria, Leeum SAMSUNG MUSEUM OF ART, Korea, and INHOTIM Centro de arte contemporânea, Brazil.

J. Paul Getty Trust: Awarding International Collecting
This year, the ARCOmadrid International Collecting Award goes to the institution founded by one of the greatest patrons of international contemporary art: the J. Paul Getty Trust, a philanthropic institution based in Los Angeles and a staunch supporter of visual arts in all manifestations. Extensively recognised worldwide for its cultural work, this institution receives the Amigos de ARCOmadrid Association Award for its commitment with contemporary art, materialised in its research work and in forward-looking projects. This is the case of “Pacific Standard Time, Art in L.A. 1945-1980”, a project comprising 40 cultural institutions from the South of California to present a retrospective programme of post-war art in the area through a large number of exhibitions and other activities.

The Getty Trust has also collaborated in “Video Art in Los Angeles”, a season included in the tie-in exhibition programme held concurrently with ARCOmadrid_ 2010, on show at MNCARS in Madrid throughout the month of February. The season showcases 24 pieces from the Getty Research Institute collection, by artists belonging to a generation that renewed the art being made in LA, including Paul McCarthy, Bill Viola, Suzanne Lacy, Chris Burden, and many others.

The seed for this institution was planted by Jean Paul Getty (USA, 1892-1976), when he founded a small museum in Malibu in 1954 to exhibit Greek and Roman antiques, and also 18th century French furniture and European painting. In 1982, when most of the J. Paul Getty’s assets were transferred to the Trust, the trustees wanted to strengthen its commitment with visual arts by expanding the museum and including a much wider range of programmes. That led to the creation of The Getty Conservation Institute, The Getty Research Institute and of the grants programme that would later become The Getty Foundation.

At present, the collection also includes a wide-ranging collection of photography ranging from vintage images and avant-garde photographs by Man Ray, to pieces by the greatest names in American contemporary photography, like Richard Miller, William Eggleston, Jim Dow, William G. Larson or a superb collection of portraits of American celebrities made by Andy Warhol. Besides, The Getty organises temporary exhibitions to promote contemporary art, and has recently organised shows such as “California Video”, “Ten Years in Focus: The Artist and the Camera”, and the projection of the video installation “Please Be Seated” by Nicole Cohen or “Urban Panoramas”, currently on show, with works by the photographers Catherine Opie, Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao and Soo Kim.

In its two headquarters, The Getty Center in Los Angeles and The Getty Villa in Malibu, the Getty Trust welcomes around 1.8 million visitors every year. In consonance with its commitment with cultural and art heritage, The Getty Trust develops its programmes to expand the knowledge of art and to develop its creation and enjoyment as essential elements for the consolidation of a cultivated and dynamic civil society.

The Carmen Buqueras de Riera Collection, Spanish Collecting Award
This year, the distinction to collecting in the Spanish category goes to Carmen Buqueras de Riera, the widow of the Catalan gallerist and philanthropist Salvador Riera. Buqueras de Riera, born in Malaga and resident in London since her husband’s death in 1994, started her private collection that same year. At present, she is a member of the Board of Trustees of Fundación Godia, in Barcelona, and of the Latin American Art Purchase Committee of Tate Modern, London, as well as of the editorial board of Art Gallery Guide Madrid.

The beginning of Carmen Buqueras’s passion for art goes back to the activity of her husband, whose collection was acquired by the Catalan autonomous government as the core of the collection that would later become the MACBA. In the words of the curator Fernando Francés, when she started her private collection “she did it with all the weight or her experience but free from any commitments with the past. That combination gave rise to one of the most singular gazes in Spanish art collecting”.

Her comprehensive contemporary art collection includes works by artists of the stature of Andy Warhol, Cristina Iglesias, Olafur Eliasson, Anish Kapoor, Juan Uslé, Jenny Holzer, Ugo Rondinone, Juan Muñoz, Basquiat, Gary Hume, José María Cano, Cerith Wyn Evans or Louise Bourgeois.

In April 2009, Carmen Buqueras signed an agreement for the cession, free-of-charge and for five years, of 100 pieces from her private collection for exhibition at the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo (CAC) in Malaga. At present, the CAC Malaga is exhibiting an initial selection of 24 works in a show titled “Pasión. Colección Carmen Riera” paying tribute to her husband, who transmitted his love for contemporary art.

The Pi Fernandino Collection, Spanish Collecting Award
In this category of Spanish collecting, the Amigos de ARCOmadrid Association is also distinguishing the Pi Fernandino collection, with holdings that position it as one of the few private collections focusing on audiovisual format works from recent years. It was in the 2000s when this collection, started ten years previously by Helena Fernandino and Emilio Pi (Pamplona, 1954), shifted towards video art collecting. The number of pieces in that format now exceed those in other media like painting or photography. For this couple, discovering video also meant discovering a whole plethora of references to their own experiences and identity.

Though with some examples of pieces from the early steps of video art in the 1960s, the majority of its holdings consists of video pieces from the 1990s and 2000s, with works from the second and, particularly, third generation of artists working in the audiovisual medium. Thus, their video-art collection comprises 90 pieces including installations, projections, single-channel videos, plus an archive with over 200 works in limited editions and artist’s copy. Among the international artists in this collection are Marina Abramović, Carlos Amorales, Vanessa Beecroft, Willie Doherty, Tracy Emin, Douglas Gordon, Cao Guimaraes, Tony Ousler, Fiona Tan, Laurence Weiner and Yang Fudong. As far as Spanish practitioners are concerned, we could mention Toni Abad, Manu Arregui, Jon Miquel Euba, Muntadas, Sergio Prego and Fernando Sánchez Castillo, among many others. Some of the pieces from this collection have been recently exhibited at MNCARS in Madrid (Acciones y Situaciones, Madrid, December 2008), and at the Dos de Mayo Art Centre (Gustos, colecciones y cintas de video, Madrid, November 2008)

Helena Fernandino and Emilio Pi are shining examples at a moment when collecting video is still the preserve of very few collectors, despite the fact that we are living in a totally audiovisual culture. A brave and forthright decision to focus on the art of our times and the incorporation of new technologies into contemporary visual arts.

ARCOmadrid | José Luis Álvarez Margaride | Prince and Princess of Asturias |

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