Celebrating Latin American Art: PINTA Art Fair, 6 – 9 June, London

PINTA, the Latin American Art Show opened on Monday 5 June at Earls Court Exhibition Centre.

Presenting the very best in modern and contemporary Latin American art, the show follows last week’s record sale of Latin American art at Sotheby’s, New York. Launched in New York City in 2007, PINTA will bring to London over 50 galleries from the Americas and Europe: Guillermo de Osma Galería and Distrito 4 from Madrid; Maddox Arts from London; Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte from Buenos Aires; Lucia de la Puente from Peru, Galería Enrique Guerrero from Mexico, Galeria Nara Roesler from São Paulo, Aninat Isabel from Santiago, Chile and Durban Segnini and Sammer Gallery from Miami.

We caught up with PINTA’s chairman, Alejandro Zaia to chat about role of the fair in a global marketplace.

2011 marks PINTA’s second year in London and there’s already a lot of excitement around it. Can you tell me something about how the show started and its development over time?
PINTA LONDON was in our dreams from the very beginning. When we started our project in NY in 2007, we always had London as our second stop. The response we got last year was a fantastic start and has certainly encouraged us to do it again, and better.

PINTA showcases the best in contemporary Latin American art; what, for you, makes this form of art particularly special and distinctive from others?
PINTA showcases the best in contemporary but also in modern Latin American art. With so many fantastic art fairs on the calendar, it is difficult to say what is distinctive about PINTA. What I would say is that we love our art, all the management team at PINTA are also collectors and have a great passion for this. PINTA`s director, Diego Costa Peuser ran a Latin American art magazine for 30 years and our other director is an active member of the Latin American Committee at MoMA and Tate. As a region, we believe that we have a great background in art, strong artists, and yet perhaps a weak commercial system. This is the gap that we want to bridge, by trying to bring our artists into the two big world capitals, London and New York.

Can you identify any specific trends in current contemporary Latin American art and, if so, how are these reflected through the work on show at PINTA this year?
In established art, it’s about the marvellous geometrical abstraction from the 1950s and 60s, and all the conceptual artists from the 1970s and 80s. This is what the museums and institutions are collecting these days. In contemporary art, our artists are operate in the same way as their contemporaries in Germany, Italy, the UK and so on. They have most of the same concerns, pains, wishes, fears, happy moments and motivations. Despite this, you find some themes subjects that are very much associated with the region: violence, inequality, and poverty. In other cases these are more abstract and those characteristics are less visible, but even these ones have some flavour of their own identity.

What do you anticipate will be some of the highlights of this year’s show?
The four solo shows with established artists (Regina Silveira, Waltercio Caldas, Felipe Ehrenberg and Eduardo Costa), and all the eleven emerging artists, curated by Pablo de la Barra. We are also excited about the Solo Projects section, which runs alongside the main show. This will feature the best of the best in the Latin American live art scene, with works from the 1970s and 80s displayed alongside new works. They are amazing.

Can you tell me more about the PINTA London Museums Acquisition Programme?
Absolutely. It’s an initiative generated from Mauro Herlitzka, Institutional Director at PINTA. The programme invites selected museums interested in Latin American art to buy artworks from the fair by receiving special funds from PINTA which they must match or exceed in order to purchase the works. This year the programme will include Tate Modern, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art, and the MUSAC. The mechanism is very simple and to an extent, it has become part of the PINTA’s brand over the years. It’s a win-win programme for everyone, the museums, the curators, the galleries, and the artists, and us!

As PINTA has really taken off here in the UK, what are your plans for the future and development of the show in London?
I could say: to be better, to be bigger, offer the best quality as possible to the visitors, get respect within the very competitive art world here, and continuing bringing this platform for our artists and their galleries. But – honestly- the only development that I can see in the near future is a very well deserved vacation with my wife and children, immediately after PINTA!

PINTA continues at Earls Court Exhibition Centre until 9 June. For more information, view www.pintaart.com

Image: José Miguel Pereñíguez, Coro, 2009

Courtesy of Galería Rafael Ortiz, Spain