MAV FORUM 2015

"Less than 5% of the artists of any Modern Art section are women, but 85% of the nudes are female nudes", as denounced in 1989 the collective Guerrilla Girls. In the two centuries of history of the Prado Museum never a woman has held the position of leadership. In the last ARCO international fair less than 5% of the exhibited art works were made for female Spanish artists.

 

Imagen de las Guerrilla Girls

Given the unstable and unequal status of women in the international scene, the association Women in the Visual Arts (MAV) has decided to conduct an innovative initiative to talk about the prejudices they face women in the art world. This initiative will be held on a biennial basis. It is the FORUM MAV, a forum of reflection to analyze the unequal status of women in the Spanish art scene with a full program of panel discussions and various activities to be held on May 23 in Ca la Dona, Barcelona, and in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid from 28 to 31 May.

Among the proposals promoted by the MAV Forum 2015 (FM15) include: Open Studios, organized visits to the studios of the artists members of MAV; the Best Practices Book for Equality and Visibility of Women in the Visual Arts, as an open call for proposals for recipes and illustrations for the publication of a collective book; and the convening of pieces of audiovisual format to respond to the question What feminism? These proposals will be screened on the day of delivery of the MAV Awards.
 
The first stage of MAV Forum 2015 will be on May 23 in Barcelona. in the space of Ca la Dona (C / Ripoll, 25), with the collaboration of Valentina Montero (historian and art critic) and Susana Guardiola (director, screenwriter and film producer), among others. From 28 to May 31, 2015 MAV Forum will move to Madrid. On Thursday 28 will start with a visit to the workshops of the artists through Open Studios, along with lectures and discussions throughout the day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
 
During those days, representatives of various national and international associations as well as artists, researchers, reviews and cultural managers will meet to analyze the obstacles, challenges and demands of a democratic culture in equality. The events will be accompanied by tours around the city in key feminist. On Saturday the series of meetings with a conference Amelia Valcarcel, State Councilor and Vice President of the Royal Board of the Prado Museum will be closed. Finally, on Sunday at 12h will be the delivery of MAV Awards 2014 at the Cineteca Matadero.
 
 
MAV, Association of Women in Contemporary Visual Arts, is a group of professionals in the field of visual arts in Spain: artists, critics, collectors, curators, designers, teachers, directors of public institutions, managers, editors, researchers, gallery specialized journalists, lawyers, etc ...
 
MAV develops its own initiatives to the visibility of women in the visual arts as the magazine M-art and visual culture, specializing in art criticism from the perspective of gender, Miradas de Mujer Festival, which since 2012 promotes exhibitions and various activities ; MAV Forum, from 2015 biennially hosts debates and meetings for reflection; MAV Awards, held since 2010; Arts Education workshops for Equality MAVeducaLAB; and the publication of reports and publications.
 
MAV was launched on May 9, 2009 at a meeting held in La Casa Encendida, Madrid. It currently has over 400 members spread throughout the Spanish territory .

 

Buying the first work of art always instils respect. A difficult feeling to define that mixes vertigo with adrenaline. But over uncertainty and caution, a pleasurable sense of connection, understanding, and desire prevails. That work that, once seen, stays in the mind, reappears in the memory several times a day and seems to tell you that it is willing to be part of your home, is the perfect candidate to make the decision.

In the first steps, many collectors do point out that one does not start from an established plan, but rather that one acquires pieces based on taste and the connection one feels with them until, after time, they realise that the volume of works that accumulates can be labelled as a "collection". For example, this is how Alicia Aza explains it:

“I was not aware that I was collecting until many years later when a third party named me as a collector and talked about my collection. In 2005, I became aware of what collecting means and decided to articulate a collection with an identity of criteria and formats”.

Marcos Martín Blanco, co-founder, with his wife Elena Rueda, of the MER Collection, shares this same opinion:

“Collecting has been a passion, driven by a visceral state that encourages you to do so. The collection, in terms of acquisitions, has not been particularly complicated because, let's face it: it is easy to buy because they are all beautiful things and you have some clear idea of where you want to go, but at first those preferences were not so clear. It is with the time that a criterion is being formed”.

It is not always this way, of course, but for the buyer who starts out on this path, the personal connection that entails the first piece is essential. There it is the germ of a lasting relationship that is not limited to a simple aesthetic question but is an open window to knowledge, to exploration, to a world that is often unknown to us and awakens our fascination. The seed of that connection is purely sentimental, and it is precisely this impulse that determines the first acquisitions. The first piece is never forgotten.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Ana Maqueda

Exceeding the usual recommendations made by advisers and agents, rare is the occasion when the art lover decides to buy by pure investment. These paths usually open later, when the volume of pieces is large enough. In addition, there are those who are a bit against this classic concept of the traditional collector, approached from an eccentric, elitist and little accessible vision. On the contrary, art buyers are, above all, art lovers, sentient beings and permeable to creative stimulus who, at a given moment, decide to deepen the relationship they already have with art to take a piece home.

It is not that hard to overcome that small psychological barrier that turns the visitor into a buyer if one approaches the matter from a more personal and intimate perspective than from social consideration. Small-format works, graphic work or serial photography are of great help for this, whose price range, generally more affordable, allows a closer comparison to the daily basis expenses. In this way, the purchase of art falls within the range of feasible activities and becomes something close and possible.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Marc Cisneros

At that moment, a different relationship with art begins, based on pure experience and coexistence with the acquired piece. Perhaps it can be seen as an act of daring, but on many occasions, it is more a matter of necessity and transformation. Collectors also agree that the acquisition of an artwork is an exercise on personal analysis and opening up to a new field of knowledge that was previously alien to us. Alicia Aza explains that the reason she acquired her first piece of video art, by Sergio Prego, is because she did not understand it and because she saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to self-improve. This open window to knowledge creates new connections and bonds with creators, as one of the most fascinating parts of the process. Candela Álvarez Soldevilla explains that

"I think the most interesting thing in the art world is talking to artists. They are people with a special sensitivity to listen and understand.”

And Alicia Aza also says:

"I can share the satisfaction of being able to count on many artists in my circle of close friends today, and that is a long way to go."

Thus, with works that seem acceptable within the horizon of expenses that each one considers affordable, it is easy to find a piece that catches us. Since then, our home also evolves into a space in which art has a permanent place and presence, and there is no doubt that this transforms us inside.

Art Madrid'20, photo by Henar Herguera

Jaime Sordo, owner of Los Bragales collection and founder of the 9915 Contemporary Art Collectors Association, has always defined his relationship with art as a true passion and a vital necessity. For buyers who start on this path, he has the following recommendation:

“It is an essential condition that they feel the need to live with their passion to enjoy the works. Another very important aspect is that before making decisions for purchases, they are informed, so it is necessary to read specialised newspapers and books, visit exhibitions and museums and a lot of contact with galleries, which is an important and very specific source of information of the artists they represent. Finally, the presence in national and international art fairs. All this generates information and training.”

Indeed, fairs have become a good place for discovery because they condense a wide offer and allow diverse and global contact in a concentrated way. For this reason, many new generation buyers start in the context of an event such as Art Madrid, whose closeness and quality constitute a unique opportunity to meet, soak up and feed the passion for art.

(*) quotes taken from various interviews published in public media between 2013 and 2019.