February 28, 2007 - ARCOmadrid - REVIEW OF ARCO’07
February 28, 2007




As forecast, the 26th International Contemporary Art Fair will close its doors today with one of the best financial results of its career. Added to ARCOs satisfaction at seeing its targets met, there is the success of its sales figures, with an estimated 15% increase in total sales, and higher number of collectors and buyers attending. There were around 20% more professional visitors, due both to visitor segmentation and to the fact that the private collectors showings were extended to two-and-a-half days.

In addition, the estimated number of visitors was similar to those in previous editions – around 190,000. This was topped off by the high standard of the 271 galleries that took part, all of whom went to great lengths to produce fine displays, showcasing a splendid selection of artists.

Having concentrated on putting several aspects of the fair to the test, with a view to consolidating future potential, and enhancing two essential areas (collecting, and ARCOs business profile), the results not only confirmed ARCOs own forecast, but it also proved that the Spanish market is increasingly in tune with the upward trend of the international art market.

Three other features were unanimously spotlighted by the press and marked this 26th edition of the fair, which is undergoing a period of smooth transition led by Lourdes Fernándezs new management team: greater focus on professional visitors, higher quality of the goods on offer, and the consolidation of an emerging body of local collectors.
Supporting collectors. Earning trust through its focus on professionals, and becoming an appealing option for collectors abroad and in Spain, was a specific undertaking that helped to boost this years fair. The strategy was visitor segmentation, devoting an entire extra day to professional visitors, thereby encouraging work and business contacts between galleries and buyers. Proof of this can be seen in the numerous sales transactions that took place on those days. There was a marked difference between the first day, Wednesday, when a large number of preliminary contacts and reservations were made, and the second and third days, when a high number of actual sales took place. For corporate visitors – an area where major new buyers were apparent – the Berge Group (via Hyundai), contributed a VIP Lounge which served as an exclusive meeting place for collectors and professional visitors.

The Special Guest Country, South Korea, also ended on a high in terms of business results. Its strong turnout of galleries aroused huge interest amongst collectors, and generated a large volume of sales: over half the galleries sold 100% of their selected works. This also goes to show the growing acceptance of Asian art on the international art scene.
Focussing on professionals. The results confirm what critics have unanimously described as the great progress made by ARCO in terms of professional visitors, with a balanced presence of major international artists, some of the worlds top galleries, and artworks of a very high standard. By enhancing its profile in this way, ARCO is right on track, in the highly competitive world of international contemporary art fairs. Art spaces were better laid-out and contained more balanced proposals, many of them making some brave artistic choices, all of which met with great approval this year. Some galleries also decided to hold one-man-shows, a feature that really appealed to visitors. And distinctions were made between visitors themselves, who were also generally better qualified.
The target: quality. The care taken with the selection process and the growing international interest in the Spanish market have turned ARCO into a leading art fair, ever more international in scope, and deeply rooted in an expanding market. The fifty top galleries that attended the fair for the first time this year joined firmly established ARCO regulars. This was one of the major steps taken this year, with a view to making quality a priority, and it means ARCO is now seen as a business platform that is fully equipped to meet current market demands.
2008. This years strong results are undoubtedly a huge step in the right direction in terms of ARCOs firm decision to achieve top quality. This goal will be the basis of the selection process for next years fair, which features Brazil as Special Guest Country. The 2008 edition, which will transfer to Feria de Madrids new exhibition halls, will have a brand new, well-defined layout and design. Collecting will once again be the highlight, with particular focus on corporate collecting, one of the areas with the greatest potential right now.

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