Pinta NY’s chairman Diego Costa Peuser, right, and U.S. director, Ian Cofre, discuss Marta Chilindron‘s ‘Ring, 2013,’ which will be in the fair. Andrew Hinderaker for The Wall Street Journal

Pinta NY, Founded in 2007, Deals With a Much Expanded Latin American Art Market

When Diego Costa Peuser founded Pinta NY in 2007, it was credited with being New York’s first fair dedicated to Latin American modern and contemporary art, shining a spotlight on an emerging and relatively untapped body of work.
When the show opens for its seventh edition on Thursday at the 82Mercer Conference Center, it will do so in a much-changed field.”Ten years ago, there was no [Latin American] presence at fairs like Art Basel,” said Mr. Costa Peuser, the fair’s executive director. “Now, the presence of Latin American art is strong, and the U.S. and Europe are looking toward these emerging markets.” According to the analytics firm ArtTactic, Latin American art-auction sales in New York for the first half of this year totaled $37.3 million, up 2% from the year-earlier period. Pinta organizers expect some 18,000 guests, a far cry from the 2,000 they saw in its first year.

As such, Pinta has made several changes to its structure, including higher standards. About 60 galleries will be showing this year, out of the roughly 140 that applied.

“There is greater competition across fairs, and people seek out sectors where there’s something curated,” said Mr. Costa Peuser, who ran the arteaméricas fair in Miami before creating Pinta. “Collectors find having a filter for what they’ll see more interesting.”

He gave industry professionals like Ian Cofre, the fair’s U.S. director, and Octavio Zaya, who curated the Spanish pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, free rein to choose works they deemed interesting. For example, Mr. Zaya, who directed a segment of the show dedicated to video art, picked an installation by Richard Garet, who recently showed at the Museum of Modern Art’s sound-art exhibition.

But can Pinta compete in an increasingly hectic art calendar? It takes place less than a month before Art Basel Miami Beach, a major lure for Latin American collectors. Christie’s is also aiming to auction off more than 300 pieces of Latin American art at a sale dedicated to the region next week.

Mr. Costa Peuser is adamant Pinta can, pointing to the fair’s niche status as an attraction on its own part. “The public at Pinta is not the same as at Basel because it is a much smaller fair, and collectors can come and talk at length to gallerists and artists,” he said.

He added that “the relationship with the auction houses is complementary, and collectors can attend both with different expectations of what they’ll see.”

One person who hopes he’s right is Cecilia De Torres, whose eponymous SoHo gallery is selling works from the Uruguayan artist Joaquín Torres García, such as “Anvers, 1910,” a haunting maritime oil-on-canvas painting, and rainbow-colored acrylic sculptures by Argentina’s Marta Chilindron.

“A lot of the artists I represent were either Europeans or the children of European immigrants,” said Ms. De Torres, “so I would love to see people who collect such art come and look at this different approach in the same tradition.”

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