By Nathan M. Walters, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The second edition of ArtRio International Modern and Contemporary Art Fair, opens to the public tomorrow (Thursday, September 13th) at Pier Mauá and throughout the city.  Last year’s first edition was a resounding success, leading to a more ambitious second edition that aims to prove the event’s catch phrase: Rio is art. All the time. Everywhere.

This year ArtRio takes over three warehouses for exhibition galleries, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
This year ArtRio takes over three warehouses for exhibition galleries, photo by ArtRio.

It is difficult to argue with the expression, Rio is a city that breathes art.  The streets are public canvases, contemporary  art installations, such as the recent Other Ideas for Rio (OiR), cover the city, even the Carioca way of life seems touched with artistic inspiration.

ArtRio brings that inspiration to the forefront, a celebration of the city’s emerging position as one of the most important art centers in South America.

This year’s celebration looks to increase awareness in all levels of Rio society.  To this end, the event includes a real-time calendar of events, which will include the participation of the public and specialists from the art world.

The event, which includes urban interventions, guided tours of museums and art collections, and workshops, offers visitors and locals a great opportunity to participate in Rio’s growing art scene.

In its first edition, ArtRio, the brainchild of of Brenda Valansi, Elisangela Valadares, Alexandre Accioly, and Luiz Calainho, presented works from 83 galleries for 46,000 visitors. Not only a significant cultural success for Rio’s art scene, that has long lived in the shadow of São Paulo, but also a resounding financial success: the first edition grossed around R$120 million.

In the 2012 edition ‘bigger’ is the word, with 120 galleries (including around sixty international galleries) participating, around 60,000 people expected to attend, and an expected generation of around R$150 million in the local economy. Luiz Calainho, one of the founding partners of ArtRio, foresees the second edition finally putting Rio’s art scene on par with other global art centers such as Berlin, New York, Barcelona, and London.

La Rocque's Barata de Ouro (Golden Cockroach), ArtRio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
La Rocque’s Barata de Ouro (Golden Cockroach), photo by Patricia Kalil.

“More than merely an event, ArtRio will be present in the city’s daily routine, at every corner of Rio, in its landscaping, communication outlets, as well as its economic discussions. We will highlight the artistic value of Rio de Janeiro as a style of life, knowledge and investment,” explains Calainho.

The list of curators for this year’s event include some of the most important figures in the development of Brazil’s arts scene. Among them: Brazilian photographer/filmmaker Vik Muniz; fashion icon/ Osklen designer Oskar Metsavaht; Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes; and Brazilian bank Bradesco.

Participating galleries and artists are too numerous to name, but do include some of the most respected local galleries as well as a long list of established and up and coming artists.

In addition to plastic arts, the thought-provoking Carioca art collective OPAVIVARÁ will be in the Solo Project section of ArtRio. OPAVIVARÁs “bunker” installation, one of the public performance installations the group is known for, will be inviting visitors into an experimental and playful space–an inter-dimensional portal at Pier Mauá.

One of Rio’s rising art talents Fernando de La Rocque, representing Artur Fidalgo Galeria, will also participate again in the second edition of ArtRio, exhibiting a new edition of his Barata de Ouro (Golden Cockroach) series. “Last year was a great experience. This year there are higher expectations, which challenge artists to be even more creative,” says a smiling de La Rocque. “It’s going to be great.”

What: ArtRio 
Where:  Mauá Pier, warehouses 2, 3, 4 and 5
When: September 13th-16th, 4PM – 10PM
Price: Starting at R$30 to R$15


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