WE SPEAK WITH DANNY BAEZ
Danny Baez is a Cultural Curator originally from Quisqueya (Dominican Republic) and now living and working in the greater New York Area. A former student of Advertising at UNAPEC and Printmaker at LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies (Columbia University), Mr. Baez has been dedicated to the Art business for the past 10 years under the tutelage of renowned Thai Contemporary artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, and in New York via NY Art Dealer Gavin Brown, serving as a Studio/Project assistant for the former and currently as an external affairs assistant for the latter.
Over the past four years, Mr. Baez has also represented Gavin Brown’s Enterprise at multiple art fairs around South and North America as a Sales Associate with emphasis on the Latin American Market, allowing him to create an extended network within the demanding and competitive art world while connecting different artists with collectors, galleries and projects.
Danny Baez is also the Co-Founder and Director of MECA International Art Fair in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Co-Founder and Board Member of the ARTNOIR Collective in New York City and executive chair of the Young Collectors Council at El Museo del Barrio.
Which are the current trends that you find the most interesting?
Trends are synonymous with fads. Therefore, trends can fade. I’m not down with the trendy.
However, I’ve noticed an increased interest towards video and performative arts in the past three years or so, including a heavy presence of video game influenced/inspired art, which I feel very drawn to given my love and appreciation for video games. I do not consider this “new” art form a trend, but more like a generational representation.
In regards of the performance arts, the same has been around for ages, and to call it a trend would be a big mistake or sort of disrespectful. Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that artist like Joan Jonas, Ryan McNamara, Abraham Cruz Villegas, Naama Tsabar and a few others are in hot demand nowadays. And I couldn’t be happier and excited because I do love performative arts.
How do you imagine art in the next 5 years?
Within the institutional range, I picture it more accessible (free access to museums) and more diverse (more inclusive of non-white artists at the museums). In every other aspect, I think art won’t change that much. It goes in waves, but pretty much everything stays current.
What I can see is a shift on the business side of it. That refers to galleries and art fairs.
Galleries will probably need to become something more than a white walled exhibition space and cater to the broader spectrum of the communities/neighbourhoods they’re part of and start creating a variety of educational programs and workshops to bring that added value to what they are offering already, which is exhibiting and selling art. Adding an extracurricular venture inside their spaces is not a bad idea either for example a bar and/or small cafe/restaurant to diversify their existence.
As for art fairs, given that they happen once a year (in their respective countries/cities), I feel they might need to bring more than galleries and collectors and ticketed visitors to their enclaves. As an art fair you also need to start a whole conversation in how to benefit the youth and the local artists of the city you are in.
I am talking about taking action towards forming a non-profit branch that could bring on art classes, workshops, talks and museum visits for kids and youngsters that won’t usually get easy access to these things due to their families financial situation. It’s a must, and should happen post fair all year round.
Becoming something more than a market place should be the goal.
What does an artwork need to get your interest on it?
Substance. Simple as that. It needs a first glance/first sight substance effect.
Why do you think people should come to Swab?
Because it’s in Barcelona! Hahaha.
But in all seriousness, they should visit Swab this upcoming September if they want to see first-hand the changes throughout the whole fair program, meet new galleries and check the amazing curatorial endeavours that would become an essential element to the continuing growth of Swab for the next 89 editions to come.
Also, this is a great opportunity to get a sense and learn about the arts not only in the region but from other parts of the globe.
Swab is the only event of it kind happening there and going into their 11th Edition is worthy of your time. I would be happy to see you all in September.