This is no fair for the faint-hearted or of slight intellect. All international art fairs have their specific personalities: flashy (usually describes Art Basel Miami Beach), snobby (usually refers to the NADA fairs or Liste in Basel) or serious (Art Basel, itself, or Frieze). ARTISSIMA is as well balanced and smooth as a fresh cappuccino: a fair that appeals to a smart, well-traveled and highly connected crowd of international viewers.
Held at the Oval in the center of Torino (Turin, in English), where many of the events of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games played out, ARTISSIMA is a largely European contemporary art fair, with a few outliers from Russia, Asia and the Americas. Of the Main Galleries section, some outstanding programs included Braverman (Tel Aviv), Kalfayan Galleries (Athens/Thessolaniki), David Kordansky (Los Angeles) and three galleries from Rome; Valentina Bonomo, Magazzino and Monitor. In the New Entries Section for programs founded after 2008, some highlights were Brand New Gallery (Milan), Henningsen (Copenhagen), Krome (Berlin), Proyectos Ultravioleta (Guatemala City) and Johannes Vogt (New York). The Present Future section featured individual projects from emerging artists worldwide, selected by a group of international curators (one being MOCA North Miami's own Alex Gartenfield.) Another section, entitled Back To The Future, was reserved for works produced between the late 1960's and 1989.
For the first time, as part of the fair's program, the One Torino initiative was created to place cutting-edge contemporary works throughout various locations in the city: among them, the 17th Century palace Castello di Rivoli, Palazzo Cavour and the Fondazione Merz (among others). The Castello di Rivoli also served as a backdrop for the winners of the Illy Present Future Award Exhibition. Artists Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Vanessa Safavi and Santo Tolone presented profound installation and video projects, which aligned perfectly with knockout works from Kosuth, Cattelan, Hatoum, LeWitt and Fontana.
The gallerists and their artists were quite accessible during the fair and seemed eager to reach even broader audiences. Some remarked that the content of this year's edition surpassed the previous five years and that the non-profit institutions' representatives treated ARTISSIMA as their own art supermarket. With many artists having served as global ambassadors during this years' Venice Biennale, expectations were sky-high that the fair would meet the demands of critics, curators and collectors, alike. One word: bellissima.
The 2013 edition of ARTISSIMA was the fair's twentieth year, held from November 8th through the 10th at the Oval, Lingotto Fiere in Torino. The fair was directed by Sarah Cosulich Canarutto and featured in over 150 galleries from across the globe. The 2014 edition will take place from November 7th through the 9th. For more information, visit www.artissima.it.