Puerto Rico’s MECA International Art Fair


In spite of the dire parameters being set within the framework of Puerto Rico’s economic woes, new art projects are being created on the island; among them, a new art fair called MECA, short for Mercado Caribeño [Caribbean Market], which takes place from June 1 through 4, 2017. According to El Nuevo Día, the MECA International Art Fair seeks to present the Island as a meeting point and platform for local and international talent:

It was only an idea. But today, MECA (Mercado Caribeño) is a reality. For four days, from June 1 to 4, the organizers of this event will convert the headquarters of the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music in Santurce into a gallery occupied by works of art, where performances by artists from Puerto Rico and abroad will also take place.

This type of activity had not taken place since 2010, when the last of the five editions of the CIRCA contemporary art fair took place. Although on a smaller scale, MECA also seeks to become a platform in which to present, in a single space, a sampling of the diverse production by young and emerging artists. Equally important is the desire to motivate investment in art and to get the attention of gallerists, collectors, and the general public about what is happening in the Caribbean region.

Tony Rodríguez—artist, gallery owner and co-founder of MECA—said that the desire to organize this proposal had been rattling around in his mind for about three years. When he managed gallery called Espacio 20/20, on Cerra Street (in San Juan, Puerto Rico), he watched the development of several independent projects that sought to support young talent. He was sorry that there was not an event to gather an adequate representation of all of them, as it occurs in many parts of the world. [In his words,] creating an art fair was “a crazy, closeted idea.”

But when he coincided with Daniel Báez (of Gavin Brown’s Enterprises) at ArteBA—an art fair in Buenos Aires—he knew that he was not the only one with that wish. Fate brought him face to face with the necessary accomplice to dust off the dream and start working towards getting it done. The first thing the team did was to continue traveling to art fairs, this time with an eye on the details, logistics, and the possibility of making contacts. When they spoke about their project, they often received strange looks.

Rodríguez says, “The reaction was one of surprise; obviously, because there is so much crazy and negative news about the island’s economic level that people thought, ‘Why would I go to Puerto Rico to try to sell art? In that sense it was difficult. But at the same time, people were ‘clueless’ about what Puerto Rico is or they saw it as a ‘tropical gateway,’ an interesting place to experiment. That was an advantage.” [. . .]

For full article (in Spanish), see http://www.elnuevodia.com/entretenimiento/cultura/nota/naceunanuevaferiadearteenpuertorico-2316191/

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