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King of Spain Opens International Contemporary Art Fair
Ji Eun Lee, Untitled.

MADRID, SPAIN.- In 2007, ARCO embarks on a new phase, with a project combining continuity and the innovation necessary to face the demands of today’s contemporary art scene. A project that begins with a trove of accumulated experience, starting off from a privileged situation, to face the new challenges of the contemporary art market. This new chapter will have to respond to such issues as the growth of collecting in Spain, the consolidation of ARCO as a marketing venue, and the growing competitiveness of the international art fair circuit.

With this upcoming edition, ARCO continues to evolve, moving forward with new features which will become, in the long run, cornerstones of the show. However, 2008 will be the year marking the real turning point, coinciding with the move to Feria de Madrid’s new Halls 11 and 12, which will make it possible to revamp the layout and launch new initiatives and features.

During this new phase, ARCO’s organisers will be centring on three working areas, as the fundamental keynotes of the project. One is its internationalization, focusing its programme of actions towards the emerging Asian market, as well as continuing to put great emphasis on Latin America. Within this context, South Korea’s pavilion in 2007, and Brazil’s in 2008, as the special guest countries, will constitute exceptional opportunities, since they will contribute to opening up new channels to Asia—with Korea and China as primary objectives—and to shore up ARCO’s status as the European market’s prime venue for Latin American art.

The second keynote is to expand ARCO’s capacity as a prime mover in the art market, devoting special attention to Spanish and international private collectors, as well as institutional and corporate collecting.

And the third—which will have the highest profile at ARCO’07—centres on articulating the fair’s artistic content. Although its traditional diversity of creative trends is maintained, they will be presented in three major sections. The first is the General Programme, with the official selection of galleries; the second is Projects, which will bring together all of the alternative artistic proposals selected by independent curators; and the third is The Black Box, which will maintain its format specialised audiovisuals and new technologies.

The Art Fair - 199 Galleries Selected for the General Programme. For another year, the General Programme will be the Fair’s nerve centre. This year, the selection has been made by the new Organising Committee, upholding the same high standards as always. Rigour, quality, professionalism, and international impact have been the guiding criteria in this selection. A total of 550 applications were received for this edition, resulting in 199 galleries—78 Spanish, 121 foreign—from 23 countries, representing a continuity in the percentage of participation (40% from Spain, 60% from abroad) which have been maintained to date.

Within this General Programme, there is a strikingly wide-ranging representation of styles, with a major contingent of Modern Masters, and top names from the international gallery scene, specialising in work running the gamut from the historic avant-garde movements to the latest trends.

Other highlights of the General Programme include the large contingent from Austria, last year’s special guest country, with 11 selected galleries—a figure that confirms the advisability and impact of the guest country programme. Moreover, Germany, with a total of 26 galleries featuring major players, reflects the overall weight of Central Europe at this year’s fair, with 43 stands altogether.

Also relevant is the Portuguese group, reaching 14 galleries which are especially relevant on the international scene, as well as that from Latin America, with 10 stands, confirming once again ARCO’s status as a crossroads, and a gateway to Europe. After the continent of Europe, with 169 galleries, come the Americas, with 28, followed by Asia, with the noteworthy participation of galleries from Singapore, the debut of Iran, the return of Chinese galleries from other editions, and the major Korean pavilion, which will be the most important look at an Asian market in the fair’s history.

A New Layout for the Fair. The now classic venues for emerging art, which are aimed at supporting those galleries that are committed to fresh ideas and young artists, are once again being incorporated into the General Programme. However, although these spaces will maintain their criteria, making way for artistic proposals selected by independent curators, site-specific works created especially for ARCO, at this edition there will be a significant change in their layout. The most experimental area brings together all of the selected proposals in a single programme, called PROJECTS, which breaks away from following some thematic or conceptual idea in the selection process, in order to provide a global overview of the latest art. The curating team includes Carol Lu, David Liss, Moacir dos Anjos, Paola Santoscoy, Fernando Cochiarale, Ricardo Resende, Virginia Pérez-Ratton and Chus Martínez.

On the contrary, audiovisual-based work and new technologies will maintain their own space, under the aegis of the consolidated programme THE BLACK BOX, which will be changing its look, but not its focus as a space for art based on new technologies, electronics, and audiovisuals. A space which is, moreover, maintaining its role as a vehicle for promoting collecting in this field, especially institutional collecting. The pieces will be selected by the curators Carolina Grau and Marc Olivier Wahler.

South Korea at ARCO’07 - South Korea will take over from last year’s guest country, Austria, with a pavilion being designed by Jung-Wha Kim, Director of Museums Korea in Seoul, who was recently designated by Korean Government; moreover, she will also co-ordinate Korea’s programme in Spain this year. The selection of galleries to represent the ARCO’07 special guest country will be made by Jeong Ah Shin, Head Curator of the Sungkok Art Museum and a professor at Dongguk University, in collaboration with the President of the Korean Galleries Association and the Director of the Gwang-Ju Biennale.

Collecting - In 2007, the first steps will be taken to shore up ARCO’s role as a sales venue and point of convergence for the international art market. To do this, its main target audience will be collectors—both private individuals and corporate and institutional collections. Therefore, Guest Collectors programme will continue, bringing to Madrid approximately 200 collectors from around with the world, with the strong support of experts who will propose major active international collectors to participate.

Another new feature to enhance the art fair’s commercial, professional side will be to expand the professionals-only opening hours to two entire days, Wednesday the 14th and Thursday the 15th of February, with the aim of making it easier for galleries to make contacts, and favouring investment. Thus, collectors, buyers, and other art professionals will have the highest possible profile, and enjoy an ideal, exclusive ambience for seeing all of the art on display, and make their acquisitions in an absolutely prof
essional atmosphere.

Corporate Collecting. During this new phase, corporate collecting takes on a new dimension, through a programme which already getting underway, to attract major corporations, banks, investment funds, and other organisations having notable art collections, or which are starting to create one. The aim of this programme is for ARCO to offer a support service. Along these same lines, there is also a project for creating a VIP Lounge, which will serve as a venue for involving some important corporation as a sponsor, as well as to stimula

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