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Countdown to ARCO!

  • ARCO International Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid 19-23rd February 


    The countdown to ARCO has begun, and ArtTop10 are delighted to be attending this year!


    Last night there was a conference about purchasing art at ARCO held in the Es Baluard museum in Palma, Mallorca. It was entitled "Everything you ever wanted to know about collecting art but were afraid to ask. 10 tips to get started in buying Contemporary Art". Essentially it focused on how one can start buying and collecting contemporary art. The director of the museum Nekane Aramburu was accompanied by the director of ARCO Madrid Carlos Urroz and the art collector José María Civit.




    Top ten tips from Carlos Urroz:


    1- Inform yourself! 

    There are loads of galleries which are easy to access and often free! The more you see, the easier it will be to understand and therefore appreciate contemporary art. Read the reviews of contemporary art in the newspapers and join the online community on twitter / facebook etc. Immerse yourself in contemporary art within your local community and globally. 


    2- Only buy what you like!

    An artwork can be interesting but if you don´t like it, it doesn´t matter. Never feel that you have to buy an artwork because it is for sale and the gallery is presenting the work or the artist as important. You have to like it and live with the purchase.


    3- Question why are you are interested to buy an artwork!

    Analyse if you could live with the work within your living environment, if it is interesting and expresses something about yourself and if it reflects reflects the contemporary times in which we are living. Essentially intellectualize the potential purchase. 


    4- Get to know the work of the artist and its context. 

    The more you know about the artist, the reasons why and how the artwork was made, it is easier to understand and enjoy the work.


    5- Choose good galleries and art fairs!

    Generally good artwork from good artists are linked with good galleries. Artwork of artists without gallery representation is unlikely to reach museums or collections. 


    6- Compare prices!

    Artists with similar curriculums command similar prices, and via the internet you can compare prices. Essentially works from auctions are 25% more than gallery prices, and art fairs are slightly more expensive than gallery prices apparently due to transport costs. 


    7- Never buy purely for investment!

    There are so many works for sale by so many artists that not all of the contemporary artwork which reflects our time, will be of interest to future generations. It is difficult to predict which works will last the test of time but, if you like the work, and it has inspired you, then it was always worth buying. 


    8- It is not necessary to buy the most expensive artworks!

    It is impossible to compete on an international scale as the prices can be astronomical. Buy distinct works which maybe smaller or by similar artists as the larger well know artworks. Choose a selection of young artists and build a collection to your personal taste. Perhaps one of 10 might become well known!


    9- Get advice!

    The advice of gallery owners, curators, friends and family is all valuable in making a decision about a work of art. However the more you pay for advice, the more it is worth...


    10- Enjoy and everything will be ok!

    There is no need to suffer from art, and much better to sit back and enjoy. If you buy a young artists work you will help there career and put a smile on their face!


    Top tips from José María Civit:


    Contemporary art is of its time and represents our time of global connections and interconnections. 

    It is brave in its comment on the contemporary world, transcends political and cultural boundaries, and helps to create a dialogue with the present. 

    It is important to enjoy contemporary art visually and conceptually but it is aparent that it is the enjoyment of the work that shines through as the most important factor. Awaken the child in you and embrace the world of art without frontiers. 

    Further inspiration:

    On the subject of Art as an Investment, The Sotheby´s Institute of Art are running an interesting online course lasting 6 weeks and starting on the 27th January! It is entitled ´Art as and Alternative Investment´, and is open to all.



    Tempted by a cultural citybreak in Madrid?


    A few ideas to book a quick trip: 

    Departing early on Saturday 22nd February with Easyjet from Gatwick to Madrid, Dep. 7.30 Arr. 11.00 costing currently 44 pounds . I recommend an overnight stay in The Mediodia Hotel, which is situated in central Madrid, only 1 minute from the Reino Sofia Art Museum. It is directly opposite Atocha station, and therefore is perfectly located for transport links to and from the airport and ARCO. (rooms available at for only 49.70 pounds). Tickets to ARCO can be purchased via the website , costing 54.31 pounds for two days entry and a catalogue. A return flight on Sunday 23rd February Easyjet Madrid to Gatwick Dep. 16.35 Arr. 18.00 costing currently 81.49 pounds 




    Total cost of flights, accommodation, entry and catalogue to ARCO 283.81 Pounds

    I hope to see you there!

    Natasha Hall

    Written by Natasha Hall, a practicing artist and Phd student.