After over a year of wondering what kind of programming Art Basel will bring to Buenos Aires for its inaugural Art Basel Cities Week in Buenos Aires, the wait is finally over. The first Art Basel Cities Week will take place from September 6 through 12, 2018 across three neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. Titled “Hopscotch,” the program, which is supported by UBS as Global Lead Partner, takes its name from the 1963 experimental novel by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar. According to a release from Art Basel, “the novel follows a non-linear narrative that can be read in multiple sequences, jumping from chapter to chapter, as suggested by the title inspired by the ancient children’s street game popular in many cultures. Like the book and the game, the public art program hopscotches through the city, shaping possible journeys and different paths through urban space, creating unexpected connections between sites and artworks.”
Participating artists in the inaugural Art Basel Cities Week include a mix of both international and regional artists, like Eduardo Basualdo, Pia Camil, Maurizio Cattelan, Gabriel Chaile, Alex Da Corte, Santiago de Paoli, David Horvitz, Leandro Katz, Barbara Kruger, Luciana Lamothe, Ad Minoliti, Eduardo Navarro, Mika Rottenberg, Mariela Scafati, Vivian Suter and Stan VanDerBeek. The program will bring to life long forgotten locations within Buenos Aires through a series of gestures and interventions that include site-specific sculptures, live performances and experimental installations that will combine art with the landscape of the Argentine capital.
“I am honored to work in such an inspiring city as Buenos Aires. In the past months, I have visited many artists and cultural institutions and I am very excited by the depth, richness and effervescence of the local art scene”, said Cecilia Alemani, artistic director of Art Basel Cities Week. “Hopscotch brings together both Argentine and international artists who are working closely with the sites we selected for the program to create a full immersive experience that intertwines art and the city. It explores various locales along the waterside, connecting the neighborhood of La Boca, through Puerto Madero to that of Palermo, while intersecting many different venues that were built near the river. All in different ways, the artists in the program imagine new types of choral participation, composing intricate choreographies in which individuals and collectivities are woven into new models of coexistence.”
Argentine artist Basualdo will install a series of sculptural encounters along the Rio de la Plata that will engage visitors through a sensorial landscape. Argentine artist Minoliti will stage her work in one of the few early 20th-century Rationalist buildings in the city that will also host a feminist symposium. Meanwhile, Buenos Aires-based artist Lamothe will present an oversized sculpture that will function as an extension of its site, bringing into question the relationship between past and future, and architecture and ruin. Cattelan will stage a pop-up, temporary cemetery for the living and Camil will create environments that, according to the release, will the “collapse distance between the artwork and the audience into a shared experience.”
The programming announcement highlights the question: will Art Basel Cities do for the city of Buenos Aires what Art Basel did for Miami Beach and Hong Kong? We’ll have to wait until later this year to find out.
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