Art fairs

Bâlelatina: Latin American art fair based in Basel to expand

The fair's new director announces intention to further represent the diversity of Latin American creatives


Ruth Estévez, Bâlelatina’s new artistic director who previously worked for Madrid’s Arco fair, told The Art Newspaper that the extra space had allowed the fair to select 18 new galleries, bringing the total to 40. “Because we don’t want Latin American art to become a ghetto, we’ve included two galleries from Italy, five from Spain, two from Portugal and two from France, which do not exclusively show Latin American artists,” she said, although the vast majority of exhibitors have Latin connections.

To underline what Ms Estévez calls the “internationalism” of Latin American artists, the fair has selected galleries that are showing a range of work, although there is an emphasis on figurative painting, drawing and photography. As at the Venice Biennale, which opened last week, a strong political vein runs through the show. This includes Tomás Espina’s shadowy images of gunmen, made from gunpowder, Ghosts in the Sand, 2003, priced at €12,750 with PanAmerican Art Projects (17), and Eugenio Merino’s Art Basel Etiopía, 2006 with T20 (20).

The highest prices are thought to be commanded by New York’s Latincollector (13), the only gallery showing classic modern works by the likes of Hélio Oiticica. But according to Ms Estévez, prices generally range from the $1,000-$2,000 asked by young galleries such as the Chihuahua-based Estación (29), to around $30,000 at more established galleries such as Miami gallerist Diana Lowenstein (3).

Although busy, Bâlelatina’s opening night may have suffered as a result of strong competition from rival fair Liste, although curators from the Tate in London who are building a Latin American collection and recently acquired four sculptures and four works on paper by Hélio Oiticica, and Hans-Michael Herzog, director of the Daros-Latinamerica collection in Zurich, were spotted—and more are expected over the next few days.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Bâlelatina gets bigger'