So here we are, 2007, and we had the grand launch of Equus Arte which is organized by the “Corazon Verde” Foundation. The objective of this biennial presentation of artworks is to raise funds for the widowed families of police personnel killed in the line of duty. I support that cause 100%. However, I have a few comments to make later on about the way this years operation was run.
As the name suggests the theme of the event was equine and all of the artists were basically given the task of decorating a fiber-glass horse (which really had a great design – see photos later). Now I am not trying to be mean when I say decorate the horse, especially as some of the artists who were “selected” to enter the event are VERY well known in Colombia and some also at an international level. However, rather than present great art – many only were able to muster, at best, great decorating talents – and some did not even manage that.
As is normal in Colombia, an analysis of the list of artists whose works were “chosen” to be included in the offering of artworks had a tendency (20 – 30%) to form part of the same-old, same-old group of artists, wifes/husbands of artists, sons, grandsons, daughters nephews etc. The actual figure may even be higher than 30%. In any case, it is quite a closed group and in this respect I would say that there are similarities with the way ArtBo 2007 seems to be being run this year. Now, I am not saying that this necessarily means the art is if lesser quality – though I do believe some of it to be as I will point out later – but I do think it limits the opportunities that a popular and well-known program like this could offer to younger or not so well-known mid-career artists.
As ever, the artwork was auctioned off by Christies – not this year (surprisingly) to the huge fanfares given to the presentation of previous auctions. Normally the auction of the artwork was limited to being sold off as part of a social event and bought by such-and-such a person pertaining to the higher echelons of Colombian society. No. This years auction event was actually under-reported in my opinion – and maybe that was to its good. At this point I still have not seen a reference to the sales in any major periodical so I do not know how much money was raised for the police foundation. I do, however, hope it did well.
Art for Arts Sake – Money for God´s Sake
As the refrain goes. This year it was more like “Art because it´s this time of year again when we have to be seen to be artists helping a common good cause” sake. There are VERY FEW works that I can honestly say were inspiring, intelligent, moving, interesting or even simply well done.
Rather than focus on the poorer efforts – of which there were far too many – I will highlight some of the works I believe actually merit mention – and not because of who the actual artist may be or to which “social group” he/she may belong to. Heck, I am even going to award them “prizes”:
First Prize: Lorenzo CASTRO
Second Prize: Joaquin RESTREPO
Third Prize: Augusto RENDON
Honorable Mentions: Adriana VASQUEZ
Artists such as David Manzur, though his work was interesting was done in a totally different format (as in the last biennial) – as such it is impossible to compare and include his work. Also, Omar Rayo made two horses and I believe he should have chosen just one to show. In any case, I am not going single out any artist for poor quality work (they know who the are – shame on you !!), but let me put it this way. When I went to see the works in the Parque 93, a shoe-shine boy sidled up to me and said “some of them haven´t even painted their horse”. Yes, your ordinary man on the street can tell good art from bad – no matter what the curators and dealers and museums want to tell you. So there you have it!
If you want to see all the horses, click here, Corazón Verde-Equus Arte.