Latin American art fair in the Big Apple

AP News
Posted: Nov 20, 2009 12:03 AM

The only art fair in the United States featuring works exclusively from Latin American artists is under way in New York and drawing artists, collectors and museum representatives from around the world to the PINTA art fair.

"We're reaching an international market from this cultural capital," said Alejandro Zaia, vice president of PINTA.

The event, first launched in 2007, has nearly doubled in size this year and is presenting works from 60 galleries scattered around 13 countries, including the U.S, at Metropolitan Pavillion.

"It's a source of opportunity for Latin American artists to show their work and establish a dialogue between countries," Uruguayan artist Marco Maggi told The Associated Press.

The four-day event is made up of works by Latin American-born artists.

Dario Escobar, a Guatemalan artist and special guest of PINTA, explained that despite dealing with mostly industrial materials, he still encounters the idea that all Latin art is the same: colorful illustrations of tropical scenes.

"They have to start seeing Latin America in a universal light, under the same aesthetic standards as the rest of the world," Escobar said.

Representatives from cultural institutions roamed the exhibit booths Thursday in search of pieces to add to their Latin American collections.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Britain's Tate Modern museum, the Harvard Art Museum, the Latin American Art Museum in Buenos Aires (MALBA) and the Tamayo Museum in Mexico are among the those scheduled to visit.

"We are able to get a sense of the political and social context in some situations and the whole range of mediums, which is so vast," said Mary Schneider Enriquez, Latin American Art Consultant at the Harvard Art Museum. "The whole idea that there is only one kind of Latin American art is a stereotype that is erased when you walk through this particular setting."

PINTA continues to expand, even in tough economic times. London is to host the fair in June.

"There is an increased interest in Latin American art from the rest of the world, and now is the time to take advantage of it," Zaia said.