Not all art fairs are the same, nor do people dress the same in them. For this reason, let’s say, Art Basel Miami Beach has nothing to do with Art Cologne: in terms of clothing, the former reaches moments equidistant between Dynasty and Kika of Almodóvar —in a better scenario— and the second is not far from a Protestant funeral. of our BOW The cliché says that it is “a door between America and Europe”, so, being optimistic, it has the best of both worlds.
However, there are things that never change. For example, women in art remain true to the Peggy Guggenheim reference, whose shadow continues to hang over them like inflation over our economy. This would explain the attachment to costume jewelery and ostentatious jewels, the combinations in color block and, above all, the XXL glasses among gallery owners, curators and collectors of any age, race and latitude. As for the men’s wardrobe, nobody should be fooled by the supposed rupturism of the art world: like almost everywhere, it tends to be quite boring. In particular, and with honorable exceptions, museum directors have assumed their functionary facet with a disheartening literality.
On the other hand, it is understandable that gallery owners and consultants tend to wear a uniform, because a uniform suggests efficiency and credibility. That is why the dark two-piece suit abounds —with a turtleneck or white shirt— and in general monochrome. But, be careful, it is important to understand and activate the nuances that differentiate the outfit of a gallery owner from that of a consultant exploited by a big four: incurring in such a confusion could prove fatal. Instead, because of the craze for navy or indigo twill work shirts with flap pockets, which the industry has enthusiastically embraced, one can sometimes feel like the Chinese Cultural Revolution has just arrived. Without abandoning the East, Issey Miyake and his pleats continue to have great prestige, like Yamamoto or Kawakubo: resorting to the cream of Japanese design is a sure hit when invited to a post-fair soiree.
The most daring styles, which may occasionally refer to the clubbing Berliner, are reserved for young gallery assistants, or for trend curators queer. Since we come to that, it is regrettable that the gender theories that triumph in artistic discourses do not end up sweeping the social plane. To truly believe in the transformative power that contemporary art claims we should see more gender fluidity in our agents.
For the originality factor, the artists themselves are usually trusted. And the effort is appreciated, although it is difficult to find the replacement of Leonor Fini, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Maruja Mallo or Joseph Beuys. David Hockney is still with us, but he doesn’t do much anymore. As for Yayoi Kusama, she invented an unbeatable style, but unfortunately it only manifests itself in a commercial mannequin version.
As always when we talk about ARCO, it would be unfair not to pay tribute to a generation of women gallery owners who, in addition to cementing the art scene in our country, contributed to building its imaginary. For many reasons —also pure visual enjoyment— we miss Soledad Lorenzo through the corridors of the fair. Fortunately, Juana de Aizpuru is still active, who is not only the author and first director of ARCO, but also her true icon. In all times and moments of it, it constitutes a source of inspiration for those of us who are part of this sector. My favorite Juana is the one from the early eighties, when she commanded the inaugurations floating in a sea of gentlemen in suits. Juana, taller than most of them, elevated on her heels and crowned by her unmistakable teasing, embodied the triumph of hope over monotony. Isn’t that what every artistic manifestation should promise us?
ARCO, celebrate again when 40+1 are met
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