On October 24th IE Art Club hosted the seminar “Contemporary art and how to acquire it”, led by Sofía Urbina, founder and partner of Art Advisory Services . The audience comprised a mix of postgraduate students, IE managers and key figures from the art world, such as the director of ARCO , Carlos Urroz.
The event started with a definition of what is understood by contemporary art, the concept having been established by the world’s two leading auctioneers (Christie’s and Sotheby’s) that consider contemporary art as such if produced after 1949. Afterwards, the speaker shared with the audience a series of personal statements made by the collectors she works for, in which they gave their view of what art means for them. One of the most descriptive of these was “Art is like honey that sweetens the naked truth that humans have to face every day. I will also define it, together with culture, as the element that differentiates us from the “animal” that we all have inside.”
Once the seminar was underway the speaker described her career as an art consultant. She continued by showing photographs she had taken of the pieces of art that had impressed her in the different art fairs she had recently attended. Most of them belonged to Frieze Art Fair , which had taken place the week before. Sofia then got the audience involved in an entertaining game, by giving two or three clues about every work of art and asking the audience to share the feelings the piece inspired in them. As expected, some of the art aroused controversy amongst the audience as it was hard for them to understand why some art should command such a high price, as in the case of the famous mountain of candies by Gonzalez Torres .
After explaining the strong symbolism of the Cuban born artist, Sofia Urbina stated “I think Contemporary Art is smart, if an artist is good they will remain, if not they will be forgotten”. It was interesting to see the controversy created by some works of art, and it was a marvelous overview of great art by masters such as Jaume Plensa, Robert Longo, Tara Donovan, Ali Banisadr and Gerhard Richter . The speaker was unable to hide her preference for the German photorealist.
After the overview a Q&A session was opened, focused mainly on questions about emerging artists and popular collectors. After 90 minutes, this truly interesting seminar came to a close.