The International Art Fair of Bogotá – ARTBO – wants art within the context of the city, breaking for a second consecutive year, the traditional art fair mold. Last year, as the country slowly emerged from quarantine, the fair was held over a weekend, with plenty of social distancing, health protocols and virtual tours of galleries. For this year’s edition, ARTBO returns as an in-person event, adopting a five-day format –  ARTBO Week – and which opened Wednesday, September 29.

Five city circuits – Centro Histórico, Macarena, Chapinero / Teusaquillo, Norte and San Felipe – showcase 31 galleries and participating artists. The circuits are all connected with ARTBO’s courtesy transport.  Museo El Chicó, Galería Santa Fe and Plaza La Concordía, as well 10 cultural spaces, offer a special program and serve as hubs for gallerygoers. The main sections of the annual fair – Sitio, Foro, Artecámara, Libro de Artista – continue as part of the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce’s commitment to promote emerging artists and independent projects that don’t get visibility with established galleries.

The green spaces of Museo El Chicó (Cra 7 No.93-01) will exhibit nine large-format pieces in collaboration with El Museo del Barrio of Nueva York and chosen by its director Patrick Charpenel. The museum will host the free lecture series – FORO – and curated by Alex Gartenfeld, artistic director of the Miami Contemporary Art Institute (ICA Miami). The experimental films of Raphael Montañez Ortiz are being screened until Oct 3 inside the Museum’s Pérez Hall. The selection of works by Montañez Ortiz, owned by the Chicano Studies Research Center at UCLA, and shown in Bogotá courtesy of LABOR, offers an inclusive and diverse vision of Hispanic artists in the United States. Ortiz’s audiovisual pieces dialogue with the sculpture Ensayos del vacío para la memoria (2019) by Fredy Alzate.

Given that for a second year the large exhibition space Corferias is not available for ARTBO as coronavirus health measures continue, Bogotá galleries and cultural spaces have paired with international galleries. Espacio El Dorado participates in the Macarena circuit with Spain’s Alarcón Criado. Espacio El Dorado is a contemporary art gallery and curatorial laboratory that aims to promote critical thinking through the construction of artistic projects and their circulation. Alarcón Criado prioritizes curatorial projects and experimental proposals committed to the paradigms of contemporary thought and society.

In this same circuit, New York’s Leon Tovar Gallery will be housed in the National Library of Colombia. Leon Tovar Gallery specializes in Latin American modernism. On the Macarena circuit Rolf Art (Argentina) is located in Torres Atrio, a gallery specializing in contemporary visual arts and photography. For the Chamber’s cultural platforms manager María Paz Gaviria, the five Bogotá circuits are a means by which audiences can “retake the streets” with a fair that has built a solid reputation over 17 years.

In Bogotá’s downtown, there are two exhibitions worth visiting ‘Periódicos de Ayer’ at the Museum of Art Miguel Urrutia (MAMU), and ninth edition of Imagen Regional  (also at MAMU, Calle 11 No.4-21) with works produced by artists based in the country’s regions. The ninth edition is titled ‘Territorios Guardianes’ – Territorial Guardians.

Art and newsprint: Periódicos de Ayer exhibit at MAMU

Other exhibitions during ARTBO Week include a selection of sculptures by Hugo Zapata at Galería El Museo (Calle 81 No.11-41), and Alejandro Sánchez at Galería La Cometa (Cra 10A No.94A-25). Beatriz Esguerra Arte (Cra 16 No.86B-31) hosts a collective with Pablo Arrazola, María Arroyave, Teresa Correa and Santiago Vives Holguín, among others.

Artecámara takes place at Galería Santa Fe and presents works by 41 artists. The section dedicated to art book publishers – Libro de Artista – will showcase 32 publishing projects. The 31 participating galleries and 10 cultural spaces offer a special program Thursday, September 30 to Saturday, October 2 (10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m), and on Sunday, October 3 (11:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m).

The 2021 ARTBO circuit