Patricia Rizzo: Investment in Emerging Art

No. 145 – Jun 2007

Patricia Rizzo carries out different activities related to art. Since 1999 she has had a publishing house that bears her name in which she is engaged, among other things, in publishing the work of little-known Argentine artists, such as Mario Pucciarelli’s book. Five years ago she got together with a group of collectors and they set up “Proyecto A” (Project A), of which she is the curator. In this article she tells us about this emerging art project.

ARTE AL DÍA: What is Project A?

PATRICIA RIZZO: It’s a program to support emerging artists. It was set up by a number of investors who wanted to start collecting, to start buying, and wanted to get into young art but didn’t know how to go about it. And that’s how it was set up: working on the training of collectors who accompany the career development of young artists.  

AAD: What is your position in the project?

PR: I am the curator. 

AAD: Who is the director of the group? 

PR: The directors are Ariel Zitelli and Claudio Golonbek. Ariel mainly bought works at auctions and wanted to connect with the contemporary world and with the artists’ growth. Claudio is an economist and deals specifically with collecting art. There is a steady group of collectors, mainly bankers, linked to Ariel and Claudio, who frequently buy for the project. With that money we pay the catalogs or the workshop expenses of some artist, it depends on each particular need. A collection is being put together and will be exhibited in different places. 

AAD: So Project A is not a traditional art gallery? 

PR: It is an art gallery in some respects, in the sense that artists sell their work there. But Proyecto A mainly exhibits in different borrowed venues temporarily. There are people connected to the real estate business who support the Project and lend us places, spaces to exhibit. Now we have an apartment in Dock 3 of Puerto Madero, and the Project can use that place for a few months. Afterwards, we give it back. The idea is to have minimal expenditure, which is focused on the catalog, because I think that it is not useful for the artists if there is no documentation of an exhibition. I’m against holding exhibitions that don’t have any documentation. And besides, we have been building up a collection over the last five years since the Project was created. 

AAD: How many artworks does the Project A collection have?

PR: About 70 pieces, which belong to the Project’s collection and to the people who most contributed economically.  

AAD: How did the collection come together?  

PR: I selected some items, and others came in through the “Proyecto A Prize”, which we have given for the fifth consecutive year. It is an annual prize that consists of three money awards. The first prize also includes the possibility of holding an exhibition. It is for people under 26 years old. The concept is the following: the market tends to absorb people who have already been legitimized, so people under 26 do not have the opportunity to have their first show because no one has seen their work.  

AAD: What other support do you give the artist besides financial? 

PR: We have a large contemporary art library so that artists can get training and information. 

AAD: Do you give advice to the artist? 

PR: Yes, at least twice a week we have a specific work meeting. I take care of their career by helping them. The growth was for everyone.

AAD: What is the difference with spaces like Daniela Luna’s Appetite or Fernanda Laguna’s Belleza y Felicidad

PR: They are artists, it’s different. My place is curatorial, so I don’t deal with developing possible sales. We are looking for a permanent place so that it is always open exhibiting the collection and the new artists we are supporting. That space will function as an art gallery, but the important work of the Project is the opening to new collectors. The idea is to generate a new kind of art collecting with people who want to buy something while learning and not spending five thousand dollars right from the start. We’d like for them to get excited about investing in an emerging artist to help them grow, and if in the future it doesn’t turn out to be a good investment, they did not spend so much money but helped in another type of investment, a human one. 

Patricia Rizzo is a curator, contemporary art researcher and editor. She studied literature and research methodology. She received a scholarship on management and event planning in contemporary art by specialists from Solomon R. Guggenheim. Since 2002, she has been responsible for the curatorial work of Proyecto A, a private support program for emerging artists. For the last 13 years, she has been in charge of organizing Luis F. Benedit’s work. She is currently working on the editorial direction of a book about the theories and the work of Tomás Maldonado.