My Top Picks at Art Fair Philippines 2017

This year, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to the vernissage of Art Fair Philippines, one of the most (if not the most) important art event in the country. For four days, attendees can soak in the art from 34 of the best local galleries and 12 regional galleries. As always, it was a beautiful assault on the senses, with thousands of carefully-crafted paintings, sculptures, and even sound vying for attention.

Below are some of my top picks from Art Fair Philippines 2017:

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Your Complete Guide to Enjoying Art Fair Philippines’ 10 Days of Art

I’ve been to all runs of Art Fair Philippines, so I’ve seen how it has grown to gather the country’s leading artists and galleries in the unconventional space that is The Link carpark in Ayala Center, Makati City. Each run seems to outdo the previous year, adding bigger names and occupying a bigger space. I’m happy to report that the turnout is increasing each year, too, from 2013’s 6,000 visitors to 2016’s 22,000. This year, Trickie Lopa, Dindin Araneta, and Lisa Ongpin-Periquet are launching something bigger: 10 Days of Art.

10 Days of Art is a series of events around Makati City and the rest of Metro Manila that celebrates art. It’s a move that’s aligned with their vision of bringing art outside the intimidating confines of the gallery and the museum, and straight to the people. Why stop at a carpark when you can take it all over the capital?

Art Fair Philippines will be from February 16 to 19, but 10 Days of Art will open the celebration as early as February 9. Here’s everything you need to know about this impressive undertaking:

February 9 to 19, 2017

People can enjoy and soak in the art at Greenbelt Fashion Walk, where Charlie Co will exhibit Bombardment, a mixed-media work that will serve as one of the fair’s public art installations.

Those in Bonifacio Global City can see Revolution, a cluster of pre-crafted artist pavilions at the 5th Avenue park area, Net Park Building, Bonifacio Global City.

Art Fair Philippines also partnered with dining establishments, which will serve limited-edition food and drinks for the fair. The partner establishments are Museum Cafe, Pablo, Cartel Deli, Pappy Bistro, The Belle and Dragon, XX:XX, 20:20, Black Market, Finders Keepers, Bar Mathilde, Bucky’s, Pura Vida, Tambai, House of Joe, Wild Poppy, Z Hostel, The Bowery, Chotto Matte, Rocket Room, Bank Bar, Bitters, and 2nd. Details on the drinks can be found on Art Fair’s Facebook page (link below).

February 10, 2017

Bellas Artes Outpost will launch Carlos Amorales’s exhibit Prelude, where guests will be treated to a score developed by legendary Guatemalan composer and sound artist Joaquín Orellana, which Amorales and musician Julian Léde commissioned. The score was written out of a set of symbols and notations that Orellana invented. Bellas Artes Outpost is in Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City.

February 11, 2017

DRM Classic Garage will launch its exhibit featuring memorabilia and art inspired by vintage cars. Works are by Ramon Diaz, Alfredo Roa and Miguel Gonzales. The exhibit will be at Euro Parts in 2233 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City.

February 12, 2017

Salcedo Auctions will be holding Private Lanai, a curated sale of fine Philippine art, and jewelry and timepieces. Salcedo is known as the only auction house to specialize in the sale of fine art, jewelry, decorative arts and collectible accessories by leading local and international artists and artisans. It will be held at Lanai, a lifestyle concept store that sells gorgeous flowers and eclectic locally-made home products. Lanai is at Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City.

February 13 to 19, 2017

Musically-inclined commuters will love 10 Days of Art Live!, a series of busker performances at Makati streets, underpasses, and walkways at 12NN and 5PM.

February 14 to 19, 2017

Art-lovers can witness the Asian premiere of Street, British-born painter and filmmaker James Nares’ video installation that shows passersby in New York City, narrated in a dreamlike sequence. The film was shown at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Filipinos can see this breathtaking piece of work at a specially-installed video screen in Ayala Triangle at 12NN to 2PM and 5PM to 9PM.

February 15, 2017

In the mood to party? La Fuerza Compound will be the venue of Garaparty, a celebration of Dex Fernandez’s iconic symbol: a tick (garapata). Fernandez’s garapata can be seen in parking lots, bus stops, and in any place imaginable. La Fuerza Compound is in Don Chino Roces Avenue Makati City.

February 16 to 19, 2017

Art Fair Philippines in The Link carpark!

Art Fair PH/Projects is a series of works by some of the country’s top artists. Expect groundbreaking works from Jose Tence Ruiz, Agnes Arellano, Elmer Borlongan, Emmanuel Garibay, Mark Justiniani, Patricia Perez Eustaquio, Maria Jeona Zoleta, WSK, Dez Fernandez, Mark Valenzuela, Christian Marclay, Arkiv Vilmansa, and Ronald Ventura. They are supported by Bench, Globe Platinum, the Karen H. Montinola Selection, the Julius Baer Art Collection, Volkswagen, and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

Art Fair PH/Tours is a series of guided tours to Art Fair Philippines and partner museums (email tours@artfairphilippines.com for inquiries and reservations):

  • February 16 to 19: Free guided tour of Art Fair Philippines (meet at The Link, 5F Tours Desk before 11AM)
  • February 16 to 19: Bespoke tour to Art Fair Philippines
  • February 16 to 19: Museum tour of the Ayala Museum
  • February 17 and 18: Museum Tour of the National Museum of Fine Arts
  • February 17: Quezon City Museums Tour, including Lopez Museum and Library, UP Vargas Museum, and Ateneo Art Gallery
  • February 18: Manila Museums Tour, including Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MCAD), Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), and Metropolitan Museum of Manila

Art Fair PH/Talks is a series of talks by established names in the art scene. Talks for free for all, but it is advised to reserve a seat at least two days before. You may learn more here.

February 17, 2017

Film fans will love The Serenity of Madness, a collection of rarely-seen experimental short films and video installations, as well as feature length films, photography and archival material by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the noted Thai director. The director will be present to give a talk at 4PM. The exhibit will be at the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, located at Dominga Street, Malate, Manila.

At the Ayala Museum, Natee Utarit’s exhibit Altarpiece will also be launched. The Thai artist will be present to meet guests on February 17 and 19, and to give a tour on February 18. The Ayala Museum is at Makati Avenue corner Dela Rosa Street, Greenbelt Park, Makati City.

February 18, 2017

At the Lopez Museum and Library, the exhibit Pauses of Possibility will be launched. The exhibit will feature large-scale works and sculptures by Marina Cruz, Kara de Dios, Elaine Navas, and Pam Yan Santos, inspired by personal narratives and moments of quiet. Lopez Museum and Library is at G/F Benpres Bldg. Exchange Road Corner Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig.

At the Ayala Triangle Gardens, enthusiasts can join the Silent Disco, an experimental music and headphone gathering. Six DJs will compete for a chance to battle against nine local DJs and nine DJs from Hong Kong, Japan, and Sweden at the Silent Disco finals at the Malasimbo Music Festival.

For more information about Art Fair Philippines, visit http://artfairphilippines.com/en/, or visit its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. For more about the city that makes it happen, visit www.makeitmakati.com and follow its social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Art Fair Philippines to Showcase the Best of PH Art This 2017

I’ve never missed a run of Art Fair Philippines, but I’ve always gone as a guest, so I’m extremely happy that I’m covering this year as a blogger. Another reason to be happy: this year’s run is expected to be bigger with a larger space, more participating local and regional galleries, an impressive lineup of public art installations, sonic art, talks, guided tours, and the newly-launched 10 Days of Art.

From February 16 to 19, Art Fair Philippines will showcase the best of Philippine and regional art, inviting 34 local galleries and 12 regional galleries: 1335 Mabini, Altro Mondo Arté Contemporanea, Archivo 1984, ARNDT, Art Cube Gallery, Artinformal, ART LAB, Art Underground, Art Verite’, Artesan Gallery + Studio, Avellana Art Gallery, Blanc, Boston Art Gallery, CANVAS, Edouard Malingue Gallery, Finale Art File, Gajah Gallery, Galería Cayón, Galerie Anna, Galerie Michael Janssen, Galerie Stephanie, Galleria Duemila, Gallery Kogure, Gallery Orange, J Studio, Kaida Contemporary, Asian Cultural Council/Leon Gallery, MO_Space, Nunu Fine Art, Paseo Art Gallery, Pinto Art Gallery, ROH Projects, Salcedo Private View, Secret Fresh, Silverlens, TAKSU, The Crucible Gallery, The Drawing Room, Tin-aw Gallery, Underground Gallery, Vinyl on Vinyl, West Gallery, XuArtspace, Yavuz Gallery, Ysobel Gallery, and YOD Gallery.

“Classroom” by Tromarama / Edouard Malingue

To continue its tradition, Art Fair Philippines will be held at the carpark of The Link in Ayala Center, a move to take art out of the intimidating ambience of the gallery and the museum, and into a more inclusive (albeit unconventional) space. This year, the fair will expand to three floors and the open-air roofdeck to accommodate the growing number of guests.

However, the fair will begin earlier than that. For 10 Days of Art, from February 9 to 19, the organizers will hold a series of events, special exhibits, tours, and exclusive dishes and parties at restaurants like Museum Cafe, Pappy Bistro, Pablo, Cartel Deli, The Belle and Dragon, 20:20, Finders Keepers, Black Market, XX XX, Bar Mathilde, Bucky’s, Pura Vida, and Z Hostel. If you order an Art Fair dish or drink with your Mastercard, you get a free Art Fair token.

At the Ayala Triangle, enthusiasts can join the Silent Disco, an experimental music and headphone gathering on February 18, 2017. Six DJs will compete for a chance to battle against nine local DJs and nine DJs from Hong Kong, Japan, and Sweden at the Silent Disco finals at the Malasimbo Music Festival. Attendees can also try the food at the Street Market, also at Ayala Triangle.

“Life is Hard Cos You Are Ugly” by Chalk Zaldivar / Vinyl on Vinyl

In other parts of the city, Xyza Cruz Bacani’s Humans of Makati exhibit will be displayed at the Dela Rosa elevated walkway. Bacani, who I met when she was still starting out as a photographer (and still working as an overseas worker in Hong Kong), photographed individuals to show the diversity of Makati’s population. Derek Tumala will also exhibit a light installation repurposed from old Christmas lights at the elevated walkway leading to Landmark.

The centerpiece of Art Fair Philippines 2017 will be the Southeast Asian premiere of British artist James Nares’ Street, a 61-minute video installation that captures street life in New York in a dream-like state. It will be shown at a specially-installed video screen at the Ayala Triangle from February 14 to 19 at 12 to 2PM and 5 to 9PM daily. The organizers didn’t leave anything to chance, and will also organize busker performances at various walkways and underpasses from February 13 to 19, 12NN and 5PM daily.

If this all sounds confusing and too much information, I will be creating a calendar of all the things you shouldn’t miss at this year’s fair!

Art Fair Philippines is organized yearly by Trickie Lopa, Lisa Ongpin-Periquet, and Dindin Araneta, with the participation of Makati City, a haven for arts and culture through its architecture, parks, museums, galleries, and malls.

For more information about Art Fair Philippines, visit http://artfairphilippines.com/en/, or visit its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. For more about the city that makes it happen, visit www.makeitmakati.com and follow its social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Art Fair Philippines 2016

Art-Fair

I’ve gone to all the Art Fair Philippines since it started in 2013. It’s an exciting event to go to because the big galleries are there, representing the most interesting artists in the country. Art Fair Philippines is a great way to feel the pulse of the local art scene (which many are calling the best in the region, along with Indonesia) and meet other like-minded people. This year, I went with my graphic artist friend Joyce.

I love Art Fair, but I find it hard to really appreciate the artworks because there are so many of them. This year, there are 40 exhibitors with maybe a hundred or more artists and works between them. Walking around The Link becomes an artistic blur, as there’s always the promise of a gallery or a more provocative piece next door. It’s exactly like Tinder.

At its best, Art Fair is a great way to introduce art to a new market. Writer and artist Carina Santos wrote in her column for The Philippine Star, “Art fairs are, admittedly, not the best way to experience art and this one was probably meant to be just an introduction, a sort of primer on an art scene that even I haven’t exhausted.”

Ideally, the beauty of the works should entice this new market to explore more galleries, which are more intimate than The Link, to savor the craftsmanship, to drink in the concept, and to admire the curation.

This year is breathtaking. Here are some of my favorite works:

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Xyza Cruz Bacani on the Humans of Makati

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The Ayala Triangle in Makati is one of my favorite spots in the city. It’s my hideaway when I want to get away from the steel and concrete of packed malls. Parks are democratic because it’s the only space where the rich and poor can sit together under the blooming foliage and feel the cool breeze. It also helps that the capital is mall-centric so it’s never crowded.

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It’s only fitting that photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani would hold her Humans of Makati exhibit in the Triangle. This fascinating collection of photos of people from every spectrum of humanity reminds you that there are interesting Filipinos out there that are not necessarily celebrities. On one end you have Mariana Zobel, an associate of the Ayala Corporation, and on the other, you have Bienvenido Ortiz, a security guard in the Triangle.

I like how Humans of Makati is a celebration of diversity, and how it forces you to be more curious about the people around you. While I was looking at the exhibit, I was looking for Ortiz, hoping he was on duty so I can chat him up, a change from my usual routine when I would just notice people’s presence without actually paying any attention.

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I once read an autobiography where the writer’s dad always wondered about the lives of the people around him. When they would ride the train, the dad would always come up with imaginative life stories. That guy is on his way to his girlfriend’s so he could propose. That woman is going home after a 12 hour shift at the hospital. This is a habit that I don’t have because I’m always deep inside my own thoughts, but Bacani’s exhibit made me want to look outward instead of in.

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I first heard of Bacani when a friend shared a feature on her for The New York Times. She has an incredible story: she was a domestic helper in Hong Kong who moonlights as a street photographer. Her ability to capture raw emotion, lines, and symmetry have been lauded by the Times and Vogue Italia. Voyeur.ph was still up at the time and my friend Stefan and I contacted her for an interview. At the risk of sounding like I’m tooting my own horn, Stefan and I interviewed her before she became a celebrity. When I met her during a talk Sen. Sonny Angara sponsored at the Senate, she signed a postcard for me and promised she would give me a print. The print didn’t come but I was inspired to pay more attention to the people around me. There are interesting stories out there. You just have to look.

Humans of Makati will run until February 12, 2016 at the Ayala Triangle Gardens.

From Guam, with love

Guam postcards (2)

 

Some collect shoes, some collect comics, others collect boyfriends, I collect postcards. I always make it a point to buy a card or two (sometimes even a set, like what I did in Singapore and the BenCab Museum in Baguio) whenever I travel. I’ve amassed a sizable amount, which I look through when I want to reminisce about my trips.

Whenever my friends or relatives travel, I always ask for postcards. I know how hard it is to get pasalubongs for friends, family, neighbors, and your kindergarten classmate you haven’t seen in 10 years, so I just ask for a simple postcard, which you can buy in any tourist shop. They’re ubiquitous, cheap, and easy to carry home. Plus, it adds to my collection.

 

Guam postcards (3)

 

Guam postcards (1)

 

My friend Nikko Panti from MadHouseMNL.com went to Guam for this year’s Shop Guam Festival, and he got me three postcards. Two of them are risque, and are actually pretty funny (I laughed out loud when I first saw it). What’s funnier is that the whole house saw it before I did. It’s a great addition to my other postcards, and puts my collection to shame for its conservative designs.

I suddenly remember owing a postcard to my friend Erin Emocling, who started a postcard exchange project when she was in Japan. She sent me one, but because I was busy at the time, I forgot to send her mine. My publicist friend recently gave me a beautiful pack of printed notecards and envelopes. I plan to send them out to volunteers, with little notes inside. Of course, Erin will be the first to receive one.

I’ll write about it soon.

Saturday Future Market @ Escolta

Yesterday, I was in Escolta for the monthly Saturday Future Market @ Escolta. It’s 98B COLLABoratory’s monthly initiative to bring back the glory days of Escolta’s heritage and invite independent sellers to sell their wares. In short, it’s a hipster market for books, records, prints, art, zines, trinkets, and all the things you don’t normally find in regular bazaars.

It’s funny how I’ve written about Saturday Future Market @ Escolta countless times in my column for The Philippine Star but I’ve never gone to one. Sometimes I have plans on the days they hold it, sometimes I feel lazy because it’s too far.

I finally decided to go because my friend Tyang has a booth with her team, the Cavity Collective. We agreed for me to be her publicist and I went to support her work. Tyang and I have known each other since college.

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