Australia Council excited by ARCO results

26 February 2002, Australia

Dr Terry Cutler, Chair of the Australia Council, believes that the gains from Australia's recent presentation at the 'Arte Contemporaneo' (ARCO) Fair in Madrid wil be far-reaching and long-term. 'This international initiative has presented extraordinary opportunities for Australian visual arts – not just in terms of commercial success for our artists, but, importantly, in an increased global awareness of the depth and diversity of Australian contemporary art,' he commented. Australia at ARCO 2002 – which took the work of more than 135 local artists to Spain, and included forum programs featuring critics, gallery directors and curators – is estimated to have been the largest ever international showing of Australian contemporary art. Cutler explained that although early figures indicate the financial returns in sales have already exceeded the government's original investment in the event, there are also expected to be ongoing sales, considering ARCO's widespread media exposure throughout North America and Europe. Six exhibitions also remain in Madrid until the end of March. 'Far-reaching opportunities have been created, which will benefit our artists for years to come,' Cutler affirmed, 'There are negotiations to include Australian art in longer-term exhibitions, public gallery and private collections, as well as representation by European dealers.' Buyers of works so far include the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and the ARCO Foundation. King Juan Carlos I of Spain also attended the event – though what he bought is not known.