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Artnet News
Jan. 24, 2006 

Madrid’s 25-year-old Feria Internacional Arte Contemporáneo -- otherwise known as ARCO ‘06 -- gets underway at the fairgrounds in Madrid, Feb. 9-13, 2006. Long the premiere exposition for the Spanish-speaking art world, ARCO this year is expecting approximately 280 galleries from 33 countries, bringing artworks by an estimated 3,000 artists. Almost 90 galleries are Spanish, with 26 hailing from the U.S., 22 from Germany, 14 each from France and Portugal, nine from the U.K. and five from Russia.

The fair’s global reach extends from Stockholm (Andréhn-Schiptjenko and Wetterling Gallery) to Seoul (Cais Gallery and Bhak), from São Paulo (Thomas Cohn and Marilia Razuk Galería de Arte) to Singapore (Plastique Kinetic Worms and Soobin Art International).

U.S. dealers making the trip include Alexander and Bonin, Anna Helwing, Art of this Century, Ramis Barquet, Bitforms, Bose Pacia, Rena Branstein, Haim Chanin, Charles Cowles, Greenberg Van Doren, Caren Golden, Christopher Grimes, I-20, Edward Tyler Nahem, Newman Popiashvili, Jack Shainman, Susanne Vielmetter and Van de Weghe.

Top galleries in the "general program" include Juana de Aizpuru (Madrid), Helga de Alvear (Madrid), Elba Benítez (Madrid), Carsten Greve (St. Moritz), Haunch of Venison (London), Heinz Holtmann (Cologne), Annely Juda (London), Georg Kargl (Vienna), Yvon Lambert (Paris), Lelong (Paris), Lisson Gallery (London), Javier López (Madrid), Soledad Lorenzo (Madrid), Hans Mayer (Düsseldorf), Thaddaeus Ropac (Paris, Salzburg), Thomas Schulte (Berlin), Galerie Thomas (Paris), Torch (Amsterdam) and Yvon Lambert (Paris).

"Project Room" galleries include Barbara Thumm (Berlin), Franco Noero (Turin), Mizuma (Tokyo) Nächst St. Stephan (Vienna) and Ruth Benzacar (Buenos Aires).

The guest country for ARCO ’06 is Austria, with 22 Austrian galleries on hand, including Christine Konig, Ernst Hilger, Grita Insam, Krinzinger, Meyer Kainer and Lisa Ruyter. In fact, for all practical purposes, it is "Austria Week" in the Madrid art world, thanks to a cultural program coordinated by Austrian culture minister Franz Morak that includes shows of Austrian art at the newly expanded Reina Sofía museum, the fabulous, Caja Madrid-financed space La Casa Encendida, the palatial Centro Cultural Conde Duque and other institutions.

A series of special events mark the fair’s silver anniversary, notably "On Youth Culture," five projects selected by Peter Doroschenko and Pedro Alonzo and designed to feature "street art." Included are Tom Sanford’s painterly odes to hip-hop excess and American junk culture and Nicole Eisenman’s snarky satirical drawings (presented by Leo Koenig, Inc., New York), large-scale colorful abstract drawings by Dzine and Carla Arocha (Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago), Ed Templeton’s installations that riff on the kinship between medieval art and modern cartoons (Roberts & Tilton Gallery, Los Angeles), Barry McGee’s San Francisco-style street graffiti (Modern Art, London) and sketchy, colorful cartoons by Ukrainian Janna Kadyroa and video game-inspired streetscapes of Russia done by Moscovite Natasha Struchkova (Regina Gallery, Moscow).

Also new for the 25th ARCO is "17 x 17," a group of 17 solo shows designed to focus attention on Spain’s homegrown talent and selected by Spanish curator María de Corral, fresh from her tenure as co-curator of the 2005 Venice Biennale. Look for the art collective El Perro’s politically charged artworks combining references to skateboarding culture and critiques of U.S. foreign policy (Salvador Díaz gallery), soulful photographic portraits by Pierre Gonnord (Juana de Aizpuru) and Sergio Prego’s installations evoking the uncanny nature of modern technology (Soledad Lorenzo). Other artists in de Corral’s selection are Juan Carlos Brancho, Sergio Belinchón, Jacobo Castellano, Alicia Martín, Manu Muniategiaandikoetxea, Mabel Palacín, Esther Partegás, Jaime Pitarch, Francese Ruiz, MP&MP Rosado, Daniel Verbis and Simón Zabel.

Changing gears at this year’s iteration of the fair is the section of emerging art, formerly known as "NuevosTerritorios" ("New Territories"), now called "Cityscapes," reflecting an added focus on works that concern issues of urbanism, with artists from Beijing (Kenichi Kondo), Singapore (Eugene Tan), Slovenia (Zdenka Badovinac), Venezuela (Julieta González) and Chile (Camilo Yáñez and Jorge Rojas), among other places.

Looking to the future, ARCO also offers a special exhibition, "theblackbox@arco," devoted completely to new media. Here, as elsewhere, ARCO attracts the best, with a collaboration between New York artist Cory Arcangel and Austrian architect Herwig Weiser; work by Brazilian Eduardo Kac, creator of the famous glow-in-the-dark rabbit; and Greek artist Jenny Marketou with an investigation of hacking as an art form.

Finally, this year also marks a good-bye of sorts: ’06 is the final year for the fair under pioneering director Rosina Gómez-Baeza, who built it into the international draw that it is today.

For the first time, ARCO has a "satellite" art fair. Art Madrid, Feb. 7-11, 2006, brings more than 50 galleries to the Crystal Pavilion in Casa de Campo park, some distance from the center of the city. The "modern and contemporary art salon," sponsored by Arte y Asociados, a league of 18 Spanish galleries, is clearly trying to distinguish itself from ARCO. Art Madrid director Gema Lazcano spoke of a need to counterbalance the "narrowness" and "inflexibility" of the contemporary scene, and boasted of featuring classic modernist works by Picasso, Dalí, Miró and the like. What’s more, Lazcano claimed that ARCO had muscled the younger fair out of its original location, the more central Palacio de Exposiciones. Art Madrid also noted that 150 artists have signed a manifesto in support of its existence.

Among the participating galleries are Emma Hill, Flowers, Jill & George and Spectrum, all from the U.K., as well as Jette Rudoph, Kunstagenten and Lorch Seidel from Germany, Lina Davidov and Nikki Diana Marquardt from France, Antonio Prates from Portugal and Galiano gallery from Cuba. Spanish galleries in Art Madrid include Artetrece, Del Cisne, Eegee-3,Faunas, Luis Burgos, Rafael Lozano and Rayuela from Madrid, Atelier, Arcadi Calzada, Gómez Turu and Raiña Lupa from Barcelona, and Benlliure, Del Palau and Rosalía Sender from Valencia. For details, see