“Our idea here in Ibiza is to mix business and pleasure”: a new island art fair entices visitors with evening hours and a resident DJ

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Ibiza is generally not known for art. As one of the world’s leading clubbing destinations, the island has a reputation as a hedonistic party paradise, which makes the rarefied and sometimes sterile atmosphere of European art galleries seem like a world apart.

But that’s starting to change, thanks in part to CAN (Contemporary Art Now), a new art fair that took place last week on the Balearic island, hosting 36 galleries from 13 countries, alongside 250 international collectors. .

The event is led by Sergio Sancho, the director of the UVNT art fair in Madrid (now in its sixth year). “The idea was to make CAN something totally different,” he told Artnet News from the fair grounds last weekend. “Our idea here in Ibiza is to mix business with pleasure. We want our lounge to feel special, focusing more on the laid-back vibe of the Mediterranean lifestyle.

Installation view with works by Peter Simpson courtesy of Gallery Contemporary Art Now, CAN Art Ibiza, 2022. Photo by Dorian Batycka.

Illustrating this point, the fair was only open in the late afternoon and evening, between 5 and 9 p.m. it seemed strictly transactional,” Sancho said.

Located in a convention center about 15 minutes drive from the airport, the lounge itself had a warm, friendly and airy atmosphere. Being Ibiza, it was also the only art fair – at least to my knowledge – with a resident DJ, Looka Barbi.

Galleries and artists have been invited by the art critic, curator and former contributing editor to Juxtapoz Sasha Bogojev magazine. “At first, when Sergio called me and asked me to organize an art fair in Ibiza, I first thought it was a bit too optimistic,” Bogojev told Artnet News. “But as soon as I started calling and talking to galleries, I realized that many galleries and collectors had ties to the island and were very excited to hold a fair there.”

Jake Clark courtesy of Galerie Allouche Benais, 2022.

“After a bit of prostituting, touring studios from Brooklyn to Rijeka, I found a number of galleries that all came from diverse backgrounds and geographies,” a fact that Bogojev, the former frontman of a band favorite cult punk in Croatia, is proud of. “In my curatorial efforts, I often try to spotlight artists from smaller countries,” he said.

CAN, which means “house of” in the local dialect of Ibiza, was full of mostly young and emerging galleries. And what they may have lacked in experience, they certainly made up for in quality. Exceptional booths included Lundgren Gallerythe solo presentation of works by rising star Jacolby Satterwhite; Allouche Beniasthe exhibition of hilarious and playful ceramics inspired by famous brands such as Chanel by Jake Clark; and Vickie Vainionpaa’s beautiful tube shapes presented by The hole.

by Dan Schein Apple picking in winter (2022). Courtesy of Gaa Gallery.

With works priced between $1,500 and $200,000, the fair offered a competitive selection that proved attractive to collectors. In the end, the fair sold 80% of the works on offer, according to Sancho.

“In some cases, even on the first day, some of the gallery owners told us that they had sold the whole stand,” Sancho said, citing galleries as wow, Gallery Cob, Johansson projects, Afternoon Galleryand Diet X as doing particularly well, in terms of sales.

The fair’s sponsor, the OD Hotels chain, presented two acquisition prizes, one for the artist Navot Miller (represented by 1969 Gallery), and another to Juan de la Morenilla (represented by Veta Gallery). The Bassat Collection has also acquired a pair of works, including a fine painting by Manuel M. Romero (represented by Artnueve) and another by Russel Tyler (represented by GAA Gallery).

Aleksandar Todorovic Courtest Dio Horia, 2022.

The fair offered a “breath of fresh air in the somewhat dusty gallery landscape,” said the collector known simply as @CyberKid, who acquired a painting by Spanish artist Javier Ruiz Perez from the gallery. Drost. @Cyberkid also noted that Ibiza is a great place for a summer art fair. “The island is known as a meeting place for hippies, free spirits, musicians and artists – in my opinion a great place for an art fair like CAN.”

For five days, July 13-17, the fair hosted an incredible assortment of programs and events. In addition to the main fair, adjacent programming included a Gucci-sponsored dinner at an organic winery and farm, tours of private collections, a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Arta visit by the ceramist of Ibiza Laura DeGrinyo‘s, a visit to Ses 12 Naus, a private foundation and artist residencyy, and my favorite: the impressive Eva Beresin exhibition at La Nave de las Salinas, the foundation of collector Lio Malca.

Jake Clark, courtesy Galerie Allouche Benais, CAN Art Ibiza, 2022.

The only complaint I had was that the fair was held on exactly the same days as another regional fair, Art Monte Carlo in Monaco, which I guess didn’t mean much to those who could afford to travel by helicopter from one Mediterranean enclave to another. This, however, posed a challenge for your humble reporter.

Nevertheless, it seems that the positive response to the CAN means that future editions of the fair remain almost certain. The proximity of the island to Milan (just an hour and a half flight), Paris (two hours) and London (two and a half hours), and the relatively clear schedule of summer fairs, could make it a destination for galleries interested in courting collectors with holiday homes in and around the island. The neighboring island of Menorca already has a Hauser and Wirth outpost that opened in 2019, which Artnet News has previously speculated could offer. some clues about the future of the art market destinations.

“Ibiza really is the perfect place to combine pleasure and art,” said French collector Raphael Isvy, who acquired a small work by Heesoo Kim from the Korean gallery. contemporary art now. “The ambience and location were amazing.

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