ARCO 2021: the best of the fair’s 40th edition

This year, international contemporary art fair ARCO 2021, took place from July 7 to July 11.  It was one of the first in-person art events to be held following the global coronavirus lockdowns.

Here are five trends from the fair that are here to stay:

  1. Fair fatigue is over. “All the talk about there being too many fairs has been proven wrong,” said Maribel López, director of ARCO, at Barbelia. She believes that the events destined to survive will be those that “occupy a necessary space on the scene and that have a clear logic behind them”.
  2. Events will continue to be phygital. The idea of a fair as a place to meet others and a time for intense focus will not   However, digital formats will continue to allow for a more intimate experience, while also ensuring that the impact of the event lasts longer than the event itself.
  3. NFTs are here to stay. Digital art is taking advantage of new formats to reach the public in museums and galleries. Fairs will be affected by this growing trend and are paying attention to its evolution.
  4. Increasingly sustainable events. The long hiatus brought on by the pandemic seemed to increase everybody’s awareness about the environment. The Institución Ferial de Madrid (IFEMA, or the Fair Institution of Madrid), recently published a guide to sustainable fair participation so that exhibitors, visitors, companies,  and professionals can all reduce their carbon footprints.  Sustainability in the art market was also one of the key themes of ARCO 2021.
  5. Greater social inclusivity. There are so many different types of projects aimed at many different audiences. ARCO focused on projects by 25 female artists to give more visibility to these creators.

Even though this was the fortieth edition of ARCO, the fair organisers explained that this anniversary will be celebrated properly in 2022.