Feast for the Eyes

The Latin American spirit is what Arteaméricas President Leslie Pantín wanted to bring to the world of art. Since 2003, the art fair known as Arteaméricas has been devoted exclusively to the diverse and emerging art world of Latin America. It offers art lovers a unique opportunity to view many variations of art and artists under one roof.

Recently celebrating its eighth year, the international event garnered rave reviews following its March 26-29 exhibit at the Miami Beach Convention Center. With over 40 galleries and 300 artists, the boutique-style display gave for an intimate setting of great conversation and breathtaking installations.The best art galleries from Barcelona, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Coral Gables, Cuernavaca, and many more were there in force.

“The fair is a lively platform for the presentation of a large array of contemporary thought in the art world,” said Arteaméricas Director Dora Valdés-Fauli. “It specifically reflects the wonderful amalgam of diversity that we represent as a Latin community.”

With a growing reputation as a mecca of art and culture, Miami has slowly become the art capital of the Americas. And this year, Arteaméricas put on a show that pushed the limits of conventionalism. The work was pervasive, intellectual and re-assembled reality. The multi-dimensional exhibits created a sustainable cultural dialogue and creatively interconnected the social and explorative spirit of the work. Beyond that, it gave the artists an interesting format to tangibly connect with viewers.

The Via Margutta Arte Contemporaneo gallery from Cordoba, Argentina exhibited everything from the abstract work of Argentine Raul Diaz to the figurative sculptures of Spaniard Manolo Valdés. A painter as well, Valdes has a style that resembles Picasso. His colors are bold and realistic, and the figures within the artwork appear transformed. His work seems to have no limitations and it boldly interprets the figurative in a stylized form.

“Recognition of an artist throughout the community is something that is very important,” said Maria Becerra, the gallery’s director. “Although the work that is exhibiting in Arteaméricas does not show a largely Latin American feel, it does express a universal image. The best part about our Latin culture is that we are taking the universalism concept of art to another level. We aren’t detaching from our roots, per say, but we are showing that what is going on in the world around us expands our knowledge.”

Lourdes Cremata of the Miami-based Cremata Gallery couldn’t agree more. “Art is essential to a community,” she said. “And Arteaméricas is giving us a platform where the people can be exposed to the different trends, styles and spirits of Latin American art. That is very important in the development of our culture.”

One artist displayed by Cremata is Cesar Santos, 28, a native of Cuba who left the island when he was 12. He studied in Miami, but “wasn’t content with the conceptual and modernist training” he was receiving. Therefore, he decided to move to Italy and learn how the master’s painted. In his work, you can see the young artist’s passion and impeccable technique. Santos’ classical training shines through each piece, marrying passion, magic and realism scrupulously.

A much-discussed piece was Pablo on the Table. “Picasso was a womanizer,” Santos said, chuckling. “While he was painting Guernica, it is said that his model and a photographer Dora Maar had a quarrel. The legend does not say why they had the argument, but one can only imagine it was over Picasso. In my version, I put Picasso on the table being threatened by the model’s husband. But it’s left to the imagination of the viewer, whether she’s trying to take the knife away so her husband doesn’t kill Picasso, or if she wants to do it herself.”

All in all, Arteaméricas was a feast for the eyes. “Our fair showcased the best and brightest of this vibrant world, whose importance grows daily,” added Valdés-Fauli.

By Yohana de la Torre