Daniela Luna: New Generation of Gallery Owners

No. 144 – May 2007

Two years ago Daniela Luna opened Appetite, an art gallery in the neighborhood of San Telmo. It generated instant enthusiasm in a whole group of collectors who supported her project, bringing together an audience that includes diverse members of the art scene, professions and activities. Nuevo Appetite has just been inaugurated in a 400 square meter space and Tanto Deseo will soon open.

Arte al Día: When did the Appetite gallery open?

Daniela Luna: In June 2005. The idea originated four years earlier. I had the name in mind and the idea to do something related to art. Then it took on a gallery format, which is the beginning of a larger project. 

AAD: What was your idea when you opened Appetite?

DL: To create a gallery that worked with artists who were not so consecrated but who had great potential, and to give them that opportunity. To encourage them to grow, to take risks, and to become much more involved with their work. 

AAD: Are you interested in working since the pre-production of the work? 

DL: Yes, I establish a relationship with the artists, in which we sort of choose each other. And I let them experiment in this space. 

AAD: How is the initial project being expanded? 

DL: I opened the Nuevo Appetite at Chacabuco 551 on October 15, 2006.  In the meantime, the site where the gallery used to be (Venezuela 638) is being remodeled into a space that is going to be called Tanto Deseo. It is also a gallery but mixed with objects and other things, all related to desire, sensuality and eroticism.

AAD: Appetite became fashionable very quickly, to what do you attribute this phenomenon?  

DL: There is a crossover of people of all kinds. One of the priorities of this project is for it not to be only for an exclusive sector. I am interested in being able to work with people from the art world but also with the passer-by, tourists, people from abroad, collectors. It’s about being able to handle all audiences, because everyone has things to relate to. I’m looking for artists who go deep into a personal world. In general, it is very difficult for someone to enter Appetite and for nothing to happen to them. Once they come, they start to frequent the place. Several of the well-known collectors have passed through Appetite. I’m interested in that public but also in making room for people who pass by, look through the window and enter. Even if they don’t buy anything, it’s a public that the artists need, in order to receive opinions that don’t always come from the same circuit. 

AAD: So you are interested in the encounter between the artist and the people. 

DL: Yes, I love that, seeing the relationship established with people who don’t know that they are in front of a work of art, they find something and it dislocates them. 

Because with what is already legitimized as artistic, the viewer goes to see it by anticipating an already shaped response and then loses spontaneity. I also look for that spontaneity in artists, when they use a space as if it were their own. It has happened that they come and play with adhesive tape and another follows them and they create a kind of spontaneous work in the moment, and these things remain later on.

AAD: Would it be an artwork generated from improvisation? 

DL: Yes, it happened a lot in the Appetite on Venezuela Street. For example, one would come and hang a banana peel on a wire and another would hook something else on it and end up doing something, and what interested me was that since the limits were not so defined, people were also much more surprised by things that they don’t know if they are art, if it is a work that sells or not. They don’t know if something is art or a garbage bag. I was very interested in doing it in a space like Venezuela Street, which was more limited. In this new site on Chacabuco Street you can generate more situations because it is 400 m².

AAD: Is it a business project?  

DL: Yes, as a company, I have everything planned and projected. I already know what I want to happen a year from now. Sometimes it depends more on how lucky one can be, because it is difficult to carry out something like this with contemporary art. 

AAD: How do you support yourself economically?

DL: A large part of it was from last year’s sales. I had a sales strategy that was very good and I managed to raise the money to be able to invest in all this. On the other hand, I asked for a loan to do the remodeling and now I continue to rely on sales until I do another project.

AAD: How is the growth of the two spaces going to continue? 

DL: Opening a bar in Nuevo Appetite. I want it to be more of an experience than a typical gallery. I want people to come and see a show but also to be able to stay and discuss what they saw with friends and generate another way of living.


Daniela Luna was born in 1977 in Buenos Aires. She studied 3 years of Business Administration at the University of Buenos Aires, and filmmaking at the CIEVyC (Centro de Investigación y Experimentación en Video y Cine). She practiced Kendo (combat martial art), which she considers an experience that shaped her way of facing her personal life and her company.