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TransGlobe Publishing, Ltd.
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Price: £55.00

Contemporary Art Colombia

Editor: Hossein Amirsadeghi
Executive editor: Catherine Petitgas
With essays by Christine Barthe and Jaime Cerón
Hardback, 29 x 25 cm, 304pp.
With over 690 photographs

Colombia’s contemporary art scene – one of the most vibrant in Latin America – remains relatively undocumented outside that country. With ninety-five profiles of key artists and players, two critical essays and a timely interview with the modern master Fernando Botero, Contemporary Art Colombia captures the dynamism of the Colombian art world as never before.

In the aftermath of fifty years of violent civil conflict, the Colombian authorities initiated an ambitious peace process with the armed guerrillas in 2002. The more stable recent political environment has already boosted foreign confidence in the country and led to an economic upsurge. Between 2010 and 2015, the Colombian economy saw the fastest growth in Latin America, and one of the fastest in the world. With a population of nearly fifty million, Colombia is the third-largest country in the region and the fourth-largest economy. The buoyant economic climate has benefitted the art world, which has seen a proliferation of private and public initiatives over the past decade.

Key participants in the re-emergence of the Colombian art scene feature in Contemporary Art Colombia, including such public institutions as the Museo de Arte del Banco de la República and the Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogotá, the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín and La Tertulia in Cali, as well as prominent independent curators. Key private initiatives included in the book are the art fair ARTBO (launched in 2005); private institutions such as FLORA ars+natura, run by curator José Roca; NC-arte; and Espacio El Dorado, as well as a number of artist-run spaces, including the Cali-based Lugar a Dudas, founded by artist Óscar Muñoz in 2005. Commercial galleries have played an important part in raising the international profiles of Colombian artists, particularly the Bogotá-based Casas Riegner and Instituto de Visión, both of which are featured, along with the new generation of collectors led by León Amitai, Alejandro Castaño and Rafael Nieto. A number of well-established figures are also presented, among them former president César Gaviria who founded Galería Nueveochenta and Celia de Birbragher, the founder and editor of Latin America’s leading art magazine Artnexus, as well as being a collector and champion of Colombian art.

Hossein Amirsadeghi is a writer, editor and publisher whose recent art books include Different Sames: New Perspectives in Contemporary Iranian Art; New Vision: Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st Century; Unleashed: Contemporary Art from Turkey; Frozen Dreams: Contemporary Art from Russia; Sanctuary: British Artists and their Studios; Contemporary Art Brazil; Korean Art: The Power of Now; Art Studio America: Contemporary Artist Spaces; Nordic Contemporary; Contemporary Art Mexico and London Burning: Portraits from a Creative City, all co-published with Thames & Hudson.

Catherine Petitgas is a London-based art historian who holds an MA in the History of Modern Art from the Courtauld Institute, London. A lecturer and writer on modern and contemporary art, Petitgas was Executive Editor of Contemporary Art Brazil and Contemporary Art Mexico, both co-published by TransGlobe and Thames & Hudson.

Christine Barthe is head of the photographic collection at the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac. In charge of acquisitions in both historic and contemporary photography, she has curated numerous exhibitions, including Le Yucatán est ailleurs, Expéditions photographiques (1857–1886) de Désiré Charnay (2007); Patagonie, Images du bout du monde (2012); and Nocturnes de Colombie, images contemporaines (2013).

Jaime Cerón is a Fine Arts graduate of Universidad Nacional de Colombia, from which he also received an MA in History and Theory of Art. His work focuses on teaching, curating, criticism, theoretical research and cultural management. He served as manager of fine arts at the Colombian Institute for Culture and Tourism (1997–2007) and as advisor in visual arts for the Ministry of Culture in Bogotá (2010–14).

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