Around the time of the Frieze Art Fair in October the UK paid a lot of attention to Latin American art even though the UK has little connection to South America. Here in the US, Latin American collectors have played a unique and important role in the establishment and evolution of the Contemporary art market. It’s not an accident that ArtBasel takes place in Miami, a city many call the capital of Latin America.
Charlotte Burns talked in The Art Newspaper about the conditions necessary for the growth of a domestic art market in South and Central American:
More democratic politics have helped drive the dialogue, too. “Latin America has a tradition of producing art, but it was dimmed by conflicting governments. There is now a more established government, economy and society—which is reflected in the interest in the art,” says Rodrigo Editore from Brazil’s Casa Triângulo. […]
Some of the greatest activity is coming from Brazil, where the economy is predicted to grow by 7% this year. More money means more galleries can show at fairs abroad, collectors can influence the market and curators and artists are in better positions to promote the work. “With a more globalised art community, Latin American curators and critics [are taking] up key positions in museums, biennials and galleries in traditional art capitals,” says Silas Marti, critic at Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo.
Georgina Adam picked up the thread in the Financial Times:
[T]he internal art market in Brazil remains modest, and one report “guestimates” it at R$200m (about £75m) a year. The same report claims it has grown by 50 per cent a year over the last decade. Fernanda Feitosa, director of the local art fair SP-Arte says that the market for contemporary art really only started developing in the last 10 years. […] “The art market has grown with the economy, and art is no longer thought of as just for the elite,” says Eduardo Brandão of Vermelho. “Collectors are much younger today, and they do their homework,” says Sotheby’s representative Katia Barbosa. […]
But for the internal market, there is one massive problem: a swingeing duty on imported art, which, once you add on insurance, transport and so on, virtually doubles the price. And even exports are taxed, further hampering the market.
A group of dealers has founded the Brazilian Association of Contemporary Art (ABAC), in an attempt to reduce or eliminate the tax, and are pinning their hopes on change after the coming elections. But the association’s president, Alessandra Ragazzio d’Aloia of Fortes Vilaça, says it is tough going: “Economically Brazil is at an excellent moment, but if we do not take the necessary initiatives now – reducing high taxes, facilitating temporary imports/exports – it will be difficult for the Brazilian art circuit to match the pace of other sectors of the economy. Duty is levied even if a work is made abroad – say, for a fair. “If I re-import a work produced abroad, it costs me 60 per cent, when I haven’t even sold it!” she complains.
Latin American artists put on strong show during Frieze week (The Art Newspaper)
Latin American Art is on the Up (Financial Times)