Buenos Aires Dispatch: The Summer’s First Arty Midnight Pool Party

While the northern hemisphere dons parkas and heads for cover, it’s heating up down here in Buenos Aires. And besides month-long escapes to the beach, southern hemisphere summer means the opportunity to move parties outdoors. Where better for BlackBook to celebrate the beginning of the season than the latest property from Oasis Collections, a private clubhouse perfectly equipped for riding out the year’s most sweltering months. Consider the Oasis Clubhouse an anti-Isabel: demure swank designed to wow those with more discerning tastes; a spot for people who appreciate some crawling ivy with their grownup play spaces. Plus, there’s a pool.

While a pool, a French DJ, and some free booze would have probably been more than adequate, BlackBook and Oasis decided to get a little bit cultured, especially since it was right around Art Basel time anyway. We called up Daniela Luna of Appetite Gallery and asked her to bring some favorite works to take over the space, making it a poolside downtown type party where artists and suits could co-mingle peacefully. Emerging artists took to the hills of the grassy knoll behind the pool, chain-smoking and giggling under the stars. Well-coiffed internationals traded languages and business cards over full glasses of champagne and generously-poured cocktails. Most attendees made an earnest effort to browse the other art pieces displayed throughout the house, pausing to check out the band hidden in the ping pong room.

After a few rounds, some brave and built porteños dove into the pool for the summer’s inaugural nightswimming. That Appetite cage from ArteBA and its dreamy dancing occupant made another brief appearance, this time outdoors, and somehow mosquitoes left everyone unscathed. While things were over early for local standards, it seemed that everyone who arrived got what they came for, whether it was contacts, a fit starving artist, or an in to go swimming all summer. Don’t miss the chance to partake in future festivities here, BlackBook-related or not.

Photo by Adrien de Bontin

The Young Ones: ArteBA’s Barrio Joven

The biggest weekend of art in Buenos Aires and all of South America, ArteBA officially began Thursday night with its invitation-only opening party, which was preceded by two nights of other more intimate festivities. While it felt slightly less packed than last year, there were more than enough well-to-do patrons of the arts rubbing shoulders with imported skateboarders and a couple of statuesque drag queens. A myriad of galleries from South America had work from the usual big names–Marcos Lopez, Nicola Costantino, Romulo Maccio–but this year, emerging artists and galleries enjoyed a far larger chunk of space on the floor.

While the Chandon flowed freely (but doesn’t it always?), hordes of ArteBA opening night guests headed straight for Barrio Joven, where 19 galleries from all over South America held their own next to the larger, more established spaces. An area for showcasing independent galleries and emerging artists, Barrio Joven managed to infuse some legitimate excitement amongst all the hobnobbing. Santiago’s Galeria Trafix and Espacio Lugar booths were packed with demure older Argies and young hipsters the whole night through, and works from Mexico City, Caracas, and Mendoza were equally well-received.

The young Buenos Aires art scene was also well-represented in Barrio Joven. Chez Vautier, Miau Maui, Mite, and Munguau were all showing their favorite promising young talent, with gallery owners enthusiastically talking up clientele to the sounds of skateboard decks crashing on the half pipe. In the background, a gigantic mobile of Converse sneakers managed to outdo even Chandon for product placement.

Around the corner from Barrio Joven, the godmother of all emerging art in Buenos Aires enjoyed its new position as elder statesman. Now in its fifth year at ArteBA, Appetite attracted visitors with its flashy sign and human-size bird cage. Expat performance artist Tranqui Yanqui engaged children and tipsy adults alike with his interactive neon ATM. Appetite owner Daniela Luna promised her booth will continue bringing the party to ArteBA after opening night with live cage dancing. As the obligatory art-viewing portion of the evening wrapped up, all the scruffy youngsters were making plans to head to the numerous post-opening-party parties while impatiently texting their dealers.