The first edition of ARCOlisboa in May 2016 saw 45 galleries from 8 countries take part in what was described as a boutique fair - especially in comparison to its much larger parent fair which regularly hosts over 200 galleries each February. Arising contentiously at a time marked by a slow recovery from the economic crisis that plagued Portugal from 2010-14, many outsiders considered it an unusual move, while others realised that Lisbon was being touted as the “new Berlin” for a reason.
The city has several high calibre museums, including the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, run by Penelope Curtis, formerly of Tate Britain, and an ever-growing artist, gallery and collector scene that has endured despite economic problems. While the city and its patrons do not endeavour to become the next New York, it still brings its A-game.
The 2017 edition of ARCOlisboa returns with high expectations given the success of its inaugural edition. It will feature 50 galleries including local spaces Cristina Guerra, Pedro Cera and Murias Centeno, as well as international galleries such as Christopher Grimes, Monitor and Vermelho. The new Opening section, curated by writer and curator João Laia, will highlight eight galleries under seven years old, inclusive of Madragoa, Dürst and Britt & Mayhew. While there is a solid emphasis on emerging venues and talent, the fair will also offer more established names by the likes of Erwin Wurm, Sergio Vega, Picasso and Vieira da Silva.
Noteworthy collateral events coming up include the ARCOlisboa FORUM, a series of open debates that will focus on contemporary creation following three foundational talks given by Manuel Borja-Villel, James Lingwood and Hans Ulrich Obrist; the Meeting of European and Latin Museums, directed by Juan Gaitán and Pedro Gadanho on the occasion of Lisbon’s nomination as the Ibero-American Capital of Culture, an event drawing over 20 directors and curators from art institutions; and the less-commonly seen element in an art fair, As Tables Are Shelves, a selection of independent Portuguese publishers who spark multi-disciplinary discourse.
ARCOlisboa runs 18-21 May at Cordoaria Nacional in Lisbon, Portugal. For more information visit ifema.es