The Brain in Spain…


8 reasons to go to ARCOmadrid 2016

image: MIGUEL ANGEL GAÜECA – ‘Nobody Knows Leonardo told me this’ (2015);
Photography, Lambda print; 125 x 125 cm. Edition of  3. Courtesy of the artist and Espacio Minimo, Madrid.


In the last week of February, ARCOmadrid 2016, Spain’s most prestigious art fair will take place in Madrid. Here are 8 reasons to visit.

1. It’s in Madrid – Well, actually it’s pretty much at the airport. But, unless you’re a conscientious little gallerina who will go to bed early in a hotel suitably close to IFEMA, chances are you’ll get to have a riotous old time in Spain’s fun-loving capital.

2. It’s big – As Spain’s biggest and longest-running art fair with natural links to the Spanish-speaking regions of the planet – lest you forget, they’re both pretty expansive and increasingly economically important in some cases- it offers a unique insight into an entire cultural-linguistic discourse about art on its own terms to anyone who usually receives what we’re supposed to think about contemporary art entirely mediated through Anglophone media. Yep, lots of Spanish and Latin American galleries and artists. But, indeed, an international art event with particularly strong representation from Central and Northern Europe – except for Britain of course. They only go to Spain on holiday.

3. It’s an anniversary – as the 35th outing of the fair, a range of special events and thematics marking the longevity of ARCO are in the pipeline. They include ‘Imagining other futures’, a special section of 35 duographic gallery presentations curated by María and Lorena de Corral, Catalina Lozano and Aaron Moulton, celebrating the fair’s past and future.

4. There’s a VIP loungeIzaskun Chinchilla Architects, the crazy Utopian architecture practice and all-round visionaries have beat all others to the post and will be designing this year’s romp room for the loaded and the art intellectual aristocracy. Shimmy up to the right person and you could be drinking champagne in a temporary cathedral of architectural delight.

5. There’s a prize – The Illy SustainArt Prize has been going since 2007. This year it will once again be awarded to a Latin American artist showing in the Solo Projects section of the fair. Illy naturally has an affinity for artists from the part of the world where it sources its delicious coffee. The four finalists have already been selected by the directors of Solo Projects, Irene Hofmann and Lucía Sanromán and curators Maria de Pontes and Ruth Estévez. We all wait with bated breath for the announcement of the winner on the 25th of February 2016. Don’t knock it: there’s been a lot less of this art-sustaining patronage about since the Financial Crisis.

6. They’re bothering – given the state of Spain’s economy, we think that if ARCO can talk the talk and walk the walk, they deserve all the support they can get.

7. Lovely people – We know some who will be there. And if you don’t, you certainly will by the time you leave.

8. Lovely art – oh yes, there’s bound to be some of that

We suspect that some of you who have a passion for contemporary art and are quite open to going without our encouragement might sense that most of these reasons are not entirely meant seriously…


image: GABRIEL KURI; ‘Self portrait as chart with two point convergence’ (2012)
Insulating material, string, two crushed aluminium drink cans; 99 x 100 x 40 cm.Courtesy of kurimanzutto, Mexico City



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