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Posts Tagged ‘Maripaz Jaramillo’

Well, I have been away from Bogota for a while due to traveling, work etc… but since I am back and we are in the full throws of ArtBo 2009 I thought it would be interesting (and a bit of fun!) to do a quick analysis of which Colombian artists are being searched for on the web WORLDWIDE.°

I decided to include some rules!

1. The artist must be alive and kicking!

2. The artist obviously must be Colombian (though I made a couple of exceptions.*)

3. The artist must predominately live and work in Colombia.

(again I may have been lenient in one or two cases given that I do not have all the facts).

Also, all results were confirmed, excluding possible name misinterpretations by the search engine, by confirming that of the first 10 results on the first returned Google search page – AT LEAST ONE of the websites  (10%) had to relate directly or belong to the artist in question and not just a namesake. Some of the artists actually occupied ALL of the 10 results!

So, for all you fuddy-duddies that say “What about so and so . . . they should be in the list!” well, based on the above reason I have left out of contention artists such as Fernando Botero, Carlos Jacanamijoy, and Omar Rayo – all three being well known Colombians artists who have predominantly lived and worked outside of Colombia.

So here is the list of the TOP 21 MOST SEARCHED FOR Colombian artists  – according to Google keyword tool which bases its results on monthly averages over the last twelve months:

 List of Top 21 Colombian Artists

To a large extent many of the names could have been predicted since the art scene in Colombia is still taking baby-steps with respect to other Latin countries such as Argentina or Venezuela – and as such most searches relate to the staple diet of names: Beatriz González, Maripaz Jaramillo etc etc.

What did surprise me though was the HUGE difference in the number of people searching for Beatriz González (6,600) and John Castles  (260) who is a close contemporary of the fabled Bumangues artist. Also it was interesting to see artists Jorge Riveros, Miguel de la Espriella and Rafael Penagos in the list as their work is not so commonly reported on in the Colombian press and media (at least as far as I have seen).

However, it is very interesting to note that Doris Salcedo is neck and neck with Beatriz González. Also interesting to note the number of women in the list – about 30%! Not bad I think considering art is often still a male dominated profession.

I would predict that Doris Salcedo will race ahead within the next few years if her career continues as well as it has. And who knows, maybe some of the “dark horses” at the bottom of the pack will race up the list too. Or perhaps some colombian artists we haven´t considered now presenting at ArtBo 2009 will make the grade!

° I had to use worldwide data as local search volumes in Colombia were just too low for most of the artists. This most probably does add in a factor that distorts the results if there are several people with the same name being searched for – but is the best data that is available.

* It should be obvious that I made an exception with Armando Villegas who is Peruvian but who has lived and worked in Bogota for pretty much the whole of his career as has Jim Amaral who is from the USA.

A number of other well known artists were also searched for but the search volumes were either way too low or they did not result in a first page result. If you think there should be other artists in this list please leave a comment – maybe it will be worthwhile repeating the excercise in a years time!

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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

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…or so it seems.

Today the Museum of Modern Art – Bogota (MAMBo) has launched a series of watches supported by Reloj Colombia (made by Ravel Watches, a well known Colombian company), the Colombia Herida Foundation and Unilever. The objective is to raise cash for the foundation which helps the families of soldiers and police who have been wounded in combat. A great idea…though one does wonder why this is necessary – shouldn´t there be sufficient cash made available from the government.

Anyway…on the watch faces are artworks by the following artists: Alejandro Obregón, Maripaz Jaramillo, Eduardo Zalamea, Enrique Grau, Carlos Jacanamijoy y David Manzur. All well-known and respected Colombian artists.

Now, although I understand that in order to SELL the timepieces MAMBo needs to have famous artists on their timepieces – why o why are they ALWAYS the same group of artists. I do not see MAMBo sufficiently promoting the younger or mid-career artists that could really do with their support. So what will the MAMBO do in 20 years – keep promoting this small and incestuous group for all time and not help develop and promote a new pool of talent via these promotions (and believe me this is not the first).

Now don´t get me wrong – I think the art and artists on the watches are fabulous. But I do believe that MAMBo is running out of time and eventually also of new ideas and opportunities unless they start to move away from the establishment (and here in Colombia it is very much that way – what is called a “rosca” or “roscón”).

Is time running out for MAMBO to position itself as a place for presenting excellence in art? Well unless it starts to implement some changes I believe that its importance at least within Bogota will start to wane. Many young artist friends tell me that it is very difficult to work with MAMBo unless they form part of the “beautiful people” – ie the “in-crowd”, the “elite” etc etc…….so MAMBo, if you are reading this, think about the future and start cultivating new opportunities for many more artists and don´t just feed us with the same faded artworks and artists of yesteryear.

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