I don’t know if it’s been all the cold weather, but it’s been tougher than usual to get myself out to openings and art events lately. When I heard about a Feria Americana taking place at Tu Rito at Patio del Liceo on Saturday afternoon, I forced myself outside into the cloudy day to check it out – and I’m glad I did.
The second-hand sale at the very enchanting space inhabited by Tu Rito was great, but the community spirit behind the event and all the activity going on at the Patio Saturday afternoon reminded me of what makes the indie art scene in Buenos Aires so inspiring.
When I arrived at the Patio, I remembered that a show had opened the night before at a new gallery space on the ground level called Fiebre. While checking out Lobo Velar‘s show Bienvenidos, which consisted of interesting photo collages of table tops, I chatted with a friendly Fiebre collaborator who was still cleaning up the signs of what looked like a successful opening Friday night. Velar’s collages provide an interesting approach to table-tops, adding somewhat intimate intrigue to otherwise everyday objects.
Making my way upstairs, I caught up on some of the ongoing shows I haven’t been able to see, like Marcela Sinclair’s show of drawings titled Mitema at Mite and the beautiful sculpture show by Pitico Vulliez at Central de Proyectos.
I stopped by Ups! and drank a tea with artist Daniel Callori — whose exhibition Affaire in collaboration with Juan Giribaldi, DaniDan, and Carlos Arnaiz is still on display — before checking out the festive La Ene space, where they were ramping up for a big anniversary party that night.
Finally making my way to Tu Rito, I chatted with collaborator Gastón Pérsico, who was setting up used clothing and donations of items made by artists. The idea, he explained, was to raise money to pay the rent for the space, which houses a variety of artistic exhibitions and events. Behind the lace curtains, I checked out all the treasures in the candlelit space, and noticed vintage clothes and mini sculptures with hand-written explanations for under 10 pesos. Mite owner Nicolás Barraza purchased a small container of incense, while another shopper tried on a pair of black leather platform boots.
One sculpture in particular caught my eye – a block of wood with a burning candle stuck on it and a few gourds with smiley faces drawn onto them with a Sharpie. The accompanying sign read “Semilla de la felicidad” (seed of happiness), and I couldn’t help thinking that it was a fitting icon for the overarching spirit at the Patio that Saturday.
Watching all the artists and gallerists mill around and making good-will purchases to support a fellow arts project, it dawned on me that the independent art world in Buenos Aires has tapped into something so often lost in the big hitting commercial art scene – that ultimately it’s not money that brings happiness in the arts scene – it’s the spirit of community.