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Botero Going to Jail?

Fernando Botero in his workshop
Wow! So the world renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero is being investigated by the Italian “financial police” looking to recover what they say is owed in taxes – only the princely sum of one million dollars US.

Botero says he owes nothing wrong and has only given work to over 120 artists and artisan of Pietrasanta, Italy over the last 20 odd years. The police on the other hand say that since the sculptures are completed in Italy and then sent overseas to clients and galleries, that there are taxes to be paid and not just by the workers – but by the master himself.

Botero is indignant. He says he owes nothing and has broken no laws and if the Italian government continue to hound him he will leave the town and take the jobs he provides elsewhere!

What should Botero do?

One of Colombia´s top artists hasn´t been seen around here for a while!

What has happened to him? Where has he gone?

Well, you will be pleased to know that nothing bad has happened to Carlos Jacanamijoy, it is simply that he moved to New York to work exclusively with the Leon Tovar Gallery. His work is still popular in Colombia, but obviously as his prices have risen then so he has had to find new markets and the Leon Tovar Gallery has taken the artist under its wing.

Carlos Jacanamijoy - Colombian Artist in New York

Carlos Jacanamijoy: The Man – The Myth

Carlos Jacanamijoy, or “Jaca” as he is commonly known, is an indigenous Inga indian from the Putomayo region of Colombia. Son of a shaman father and tribal chief, Jaca knew from an early age that his life would not be fully traditional.

Not content to stay in his village and knowing since he was 13 that he wanted to study art, Jaca as a young man left his village to explore the wider world that was Colombia. By his early twenties he had already experienced the local capital cities of Cali and the national capital of Bogota. It was there in Bogota that he was attracted to one of the more important art schools in Colombia – the Universidad Nacional or National University.

Within a few short years of graduating his work was quickly picked up for its indigenous character and uniqueness and soon the artist was catapulted to fame within his native land. In just a few short years quite a number of books were produced showing his latest works. But as we well know today, where there is boom there is bust and as his work became more pricier there were automatically fewer buyers in Colombia.

That is why Carlos finds himself treading the streets of Manhattan: looking to present his artwork to a different and perhaps more artistically advanced society: New York. And surely he will succeed as nothing succeeds like success.

1997 (Sold)

Wow!

This newspaper is really on a roll! Talk about selling culture to the “barrios”!

You can get a book AND a serigraph from the biggest editorial in Colombia for the princely sum of just $10.00 from El Tiempo starting with an AWESOME work by Ana Merceds Hoyos – really it is unbelievable. Let´s face it, most serigraphs cost much more to produce and you get a free book on art.

Really i need to hand it to the guys at El Tiempo for trying to stimulate the public in Colombia to take a greater interest in the countries culture and art and making it accessible for anyone to buy! Just go to your nearest Servientrega with the coupons from El Tiempo or your subscribers card and make your purchase!

Kudos!

One of Colombia´s best young abstract artists has been presenting an exhibition of his latest work in Cartagena. His work is being shown at the “Centro de Formación de la Cooperación Española y la Embajada de España (Claustro de Santo Domingo)” in the old walled city.

Fourteen large works in oil are being presented.

According to Colombian art critic Germán Rubio: “One only needs to attentively observe Walbert´s paintings to appreciate that in them there is careful elaboration, nothing or almost nothing is completely impulsive, everything is under control; balance, contrast and exchanges are searched for.

Wow !! Looks like a big number doesn´t it?!

Unfortunately it is in Colombian pesos . . .however, it is still a tidy sum of around USD $450.000.

Which for Colombia means it was one of the biggest sales ever.

The auction was arranged by Maria Victoria Estrada and Ana Sokoloff and was held to raise funds for Colombian charities such as Conexión Colombia, Colombia Diversa, Fundación Genesis y Fundacion Juan Felipe Escobar.

Ana Sokoloff, who has worked with Christies in New York, and with many galleries in Bogota selected the artists for this auction with an eye on maintaining high quality latin american artworks in the auction. The auction was held in the top Colombian gallery “La Cometa” which is run by Esteban Jaramillo and has held exhibitions in the past of artist such as Luis Luna, Jason Galarraga and Le Parc.

Through this successful auction more than 600,000 Colombians should benefit in someway through the application of the money within the charities that are to benefit from some of the proceeds.

San Basilico

The El Tiempo newspaper, published in Colombia is perhaps the only newspaper that has a national reach in Colombia, so it is good to see them promoting art through their latest release of books called “Arte Explicado” or Art Explained which details what makes a great artist or artwork. The web page can be found below.

Now, to promote this new product they are selling, they are making available free serigraphs of the artwork of two well-known colombian artists: Ana Mercedes Hoyos and Maripaz Jaramillo. Also, a lithograph by Carlos Jacanamijoy can be purchased. Their price is $20.000 – about USD $10 – for the book and the serigraph. That is a pretty good price for a serigraph – can´t beat free! – and it would be great to get one and get it signed by the artist! The idea of releasing art in this way and making it more available to a wider public is also pretty cool. I can only imagine that thousand of such serigraphs and lithographs must have been made . . .

Now here´s the rub. What disappoints me about this whole thing is that they are promoting artists who are already well-known and so are being reflexive (as George Soros would say) in their marketing. To put it more simply – they are providing the market with positive feedback to expand the names of these artists. There are THOUSANDS of excellent artists in Colombia but will they have the chance to present their work via El Tiempo – I doubt it. So while the newspaper “appears” to be democratizing the availabilty of art to the public, they are really just reinforcing a niche for those artists who have already “made it”. And I do think that is a shame. Tsk tsk El Tiempo, get yourselves out of the rut you are making and widen the doors for the other artists that are trudging the path of recognition – and give them a hand up too!

As for the quality of the artworks chosen – I am very disappointed in the new work by Jacanamijoy – it leaves a lot to be desired and is not at all in the style he is known for. Also, by publishing it as a lithographs really demerits, in my opinion, his work in relation to the other artists.

Find out more at the following link – hopefully more newspapers will follow this lead worldwide!

The idea itself is good – but maybe it requires more thought, and a bit less positive feedback!

El Tiempo: Arte Explicado

While setting my head down on my pillow, readying myself for a night of relaxed slumber I had the strangest of thoughts. it occurred to me that many artists – in Colombia at least – tend to be repetitious in their art, especially when they have found or created a work that has been more commercially successful.

I could simply point the finger at Botero as the cause of this for Colombian artists.

His work show “fat people” in many guises. He has become identified with them.

However, I do not believe that identification is the objective of repetition and most probably is a result of certain commercial or at least public success when a work has been created that has been acclaimed by the public  ( . . . . and possibly sells well too.)

But I think there is a little more to it.

In Colombia at least, there is still no cultural interest in buying copies, especially lithographs or giclees. In part because a giclee is still quite expensive with respect to an original work and many lithographs or serigraphs are not appreciated for what they are. So, as such, there is little demand for them. And so, it is actually “easier” for the artist to repeat an artwork either similarly or loosely disguised with respect to the original work that gained importance or recognition. Often it is the galleries as well as the buying public that cause this to happen – they want a work from “such and such” a series. The thing is – perhaps the series never existed – it was just that the artists created a great work of art that should have been left to stand on its own – without having to be pigeon holed.

What this all boils down to is that I see (and know of) many good and creative artists who tend to become martyrs of their own success and often their apparent creativity  as artists is not realized to its full potential. (I speak of their potential as artist – not artisan or draughtsman).

I think some may hid behind the concept that they are creating a style – a fashion – in their art and that is why it may seem repetitious – but I think it is about time that the artists start to use the mediums of reproduction to force the public to buy works that they like in that way so that they cannot go to the artists and say they want a “copy” of a work they saw. This can only damage the artists soul.

What do you think dear reader?

Have you seen this elsewhere in the world?

Do you agree that this may occur?