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A Celebration of Latin American Art

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New York’s art market has taken on a Latin American flair as Pinta NY returned to the city for the seventh year, followed by the upcoming Latin American Art Modern and Contemporary sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s this week. Once again, the Pinta Art Show has acted as a celebration of art from Latin America, Spain and Portugal, and also as an education platform for collectors who are unfamiliar with the strong Latin American market. This edition marked a tight curatorial step for the fair, as they entered the first year as a fully curated fair, enlisting a team of curators from around the world to showcase artworks from fifty prominent galleries at Soho’s sprawling 82 Mercer loft space.
Guido Llinas, Untitled, 1958, Courtesy of Pan American Projects.
This year, the fair was divided into six specific sections that illustrate definitive themes and periods, which took the guess work out of navigating the fair and let time-pressed collectors find exactly what they were looking for quickly. Pinta Next, Pinta Centro, Pinta Video, Pinta Modern, Pinta Contemporary and Pinta Emerge are were created for cohesive navigation that gave the feeling of a small museum, rather than the commercial air a fair can have. Newly appointed US Director, Ian Cofre, flexed his curatorial muscle curating the Contemporary section, which included Salon 94 and Y Gallery from New York, Miami’s Pan American Projects and The Americas Collection and ArtexArte from Buenos Aires. This section also featured a special collection of work by Constructivist master Jose Gurvich from the Museo Gurvich in Montevideo. Pinta Modern was curated by British/Venezuelan art historian Cecilia Fajarado, who brought Latin American masterworks from leading galleries like Cecilia de Torres out of New York, KaBe Contemporary from Miami and Document Art from Buenos Aires.
Jose Gurvich, Collage en naranjas, 1972. Courtesy of Museo Gurvich.
The Pinta Centro section focused in on highlighting the work of Central America. Curated by Omar Lopez-Chahoud, he brought together works from four emerging and alternative exhibitors, the 9.99 from Guatemala, Diablo Rosso from Panama City, EspIRA/Adrede from Managua and Fugalternativa Espacio Contemporaneo from San Salvador. Centro gives these unknown venues an opportunity to exhibit alongside leading galleries, while giving visitors a flavor for trends in Central American art that they may otherwise not see in a city like New York.
 
Margarita Paksa, El Arte ha muerto, viva el arte, 1979. Courtesy of Document Art.
Carlos Musse, Yellow, 2013. Courtesy of Americas Collection.
Emerging artists under the age of forty were chosen by Jose Roca to present an exclusive in-depth survey of their work, introducing themselves to the Pinta audience. This year’s artists included Raura Oblitas, Nicola Lopez, Ricardo Alcaide, Manuela Ribadeneira, Felipe Cortes, Paula de Solminihac, Keving Simon Mancera and Jose Carlos Martinat.
In addition to this survey of past and present Latin American work, Pinta also featured a video program organized by Octovio Zaya, the curator of the Spanish Pavillion at this year’s Venice Biennale. The series featured new video works by seven artists; Carlos Aires, dani Marti, Jose Luis Martinat, Zoe T. Vizcaino, Richard Garet, Carlos Motta and Luciana Pizzani, whose beautiful black and white video, De La Ofelia del Sena y otras desconocidas, accompanied by a gesso mask, stood out amongst the rest.
Luciana Pizzani, De La Ofelia del Sena y otras desconocidas, 2012 - 2013. Courtesy of Oficina #1, Caracas.
The success of Pinta warmed up the Latin American market in preparation for this week’s evening sales at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Christie’s sale will be lead by two highly anticipated pieces consigned from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Serving as the auction catalog’s cover is Mexican master Rufino Tamayo’s Women Reaching for the Moon, an oil and sand on canvas that echoes Surrealist and Abstract influences. The piece has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, The Phillips Collection in Washington DC and Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico City and is estimated for $1.2 to $1.8 million. The other jewel in Christie’s crown up for auction is La Rosa, by Chilean master Matta. La Rosa, a gauzy abstract landscape was painted in 1943 and is estimated for $250,000 to $350,000. The sale of both pieces will benefit future acquisitions by the museum. The sale will also highlight a collection of leading Brazilian artists consigned by Dr. Luiz Bethoven do Amaral, including one of Alfredo Volpi’s signature geometric architectural abstractions, Fachada (No. 1342). Estimated at $350,000 to $450,000, the piece, painted in 1970, shows Volpi’s classic translation of architectural facades into simplified geometry with saturated hues.
Matta, La Rosa, 1943. Courtesy of Cleveland Museum of Art and Christie’s.
Alfredo Volpi, Fachada (No. 1342), 1970. Courtesy of Christie’s.
A piece to watch at Sotheby’s Latin American Sale is Matta’s dark and sensuous Morphologie Psychologique (Fleurer). The early oil work from 1939 was one of the artist’s first departures from a concentration on drawing and portrays a moody abstraction interspersed with bursts of color. The piece leads a collection of nine Matta paintings up for auction, and alone is estimated at $800,000 to $1.2 million.
Matta, Morphologie Psychologique (Fleurer), 1939. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Sixteen works by one of Latin America’s most recognizable artists, Fernando Botero, will also be on the block, with an offering of a very special painting called Card Players, estimated at $1.5 to $2 million. The piece is Botero’s own reinterpretation of Cezanne’s piece of the same name, replacing Cezanne’s men with Botero’s iconic rotund figures set in a bordello, complete with an ample female nude. Our Lady of New York, estimated $800,000 to $1 million, is also a signature Botero work reflecting his penchant for religious themes.  Other pieces to watch are Sergio Camargo’s Untitled (Relief No. 289), a wood construction painted red, Los Emigrantes by social realist Antonio Berni, and a classic constructivist grid called Pintura Constructiva by Joaquin Torres-Garcia.
Fernando Botero, Card Players, 1991. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.
If you didn’t get your fill in New York, the Latin American market will be in full swing during this year’s Miami Arts Week, as the first edition of the Brazil ArtFair will bring fifteen galleries and three special exhibitions to the hustle and bustle surrounding Art Basel Miami Beach, from December 4-8.