ARCO no longer fears the “fad” of attacks by climate activists: “It made us nervous” | The USA Print

ARCO no longer fears the "fad" of attacks by climate activists: "It made us nervous"



The ARCOMadrid fair takes place in its fourth day of open doors with the ‘tranquility’ among the participants of an edition that passes without incident and in which it seems that the “passing fashion” of attacks on works of art by climate activists as a claim has ended.

“I don’t think ARCO is a target, they are looking for more media icons”, the president of the Institute of Contemporary Art (IAC), Adrián Piera, explained in statements to Europa Press, who hopes that this type of protests with art involved ” It’s been a passing fad.”

ARCO is a fair that, for example, last year brought together a total of 75,000 visitors and that, for this edition, has broken the record for invited collectorss, up to 400, in addition to more than 200 professionals. More than 200 galleries participate in an event whose most expensive piece is a work by Eduardo Chillida ‘Untitled’, which weighs 1.5 tons and has a price of 3.7 million euros.

“I find it difficult to accept that no one who loves art defends or accepts this practice, no matter how much they agree to raise awareness about climate change. It is not the way to attract attention,” said Piera, director of the Altarriba Gallery with branches in Barcelona, ​​Sitges and Vic.

For Piera, this type of action “in the end hurts everyone.” “It causes rejection of the cause and makes security controls and systems more expensive,” she lamented. One of the fair’s regular gallery owners, Íñigo Navarro (from Leandro Navarro), is of the same idea and has questioned these practices.

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“It has been disturbing and distressing, when these attacks began to occur, one wondered if they could damage the works of art. Fortunately, it seems that it has passed and it has not gone any further, but it is true that it made us very nervous,” The gallery owner has pointed to Europa Press.

“Marketing Gesture”

One of the gallery owners who usually brings artists with controversial work to the fair is Miguel Ángel Sánchez, director of the ADN gallery in which one of the ‘fixed’ each year is Eugenio Merino –author of the ‘Ninot’ del Rey or Franco ‘frozen’, in addition to this year’s shrouded Picasso piece–.

On the one hand, Sánchez has affirmed that the “pretension” of the climate activists with these attacks was “to be heard, something that has already happened.” But, on the other, he censors this type of protest with art in the middle. “I just don’t see what the link is with this sector, putting assets at risk, beyond a marketing gesture,” he lamented.

No more acts of vandalism

In Spain, the last attack on works of art occurred in the Museo del Prado last November. The authorship corresponded to Futuro Vegetal, the self-financed movement made up of about 100 people and attached to Extinction Rebellion, which justified this type of action.

“We do not try to like you, we are not one of these friendly ecologists, we do not mind being disliked, if you have to do it to generate change, you have to do it,” the spokesman and co-founder of the movement, Bilbo Basaterra, pointed out in statements to Europa Press, in relation with the reactions produced after the act of vandalism in the ‘Las Majas’ room by Francisco de Goya. The organization has continued with protest acts in the following months, but now far from the art world: from the Masterchef restaurant to the Congress of Deputies.

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Specifically, Futuro Vegetal activists, Sam, 18, and Alba, 21, stuck their hands to the frames of the paintings of ‘La maja desnuda’ and ‘La maja vestida’, and on the wall in the middle Both painted the message ‘+1.5º’, all as a sign of protest against the climate emergency.