Caribbean - Interviews

The Brand New Caribbean Art Initiative: an Interview with Albertine Kopp

2 days ago

We have recently learned that the Davidoff Art Initiative will end the program by the 31st of December 2018. Albertine Kopp, who has been for the past six years the head of this extremely valuable program, is now committing to continue the work of the initiative, seeking new partners, under a new format and a new name of Caribbean Art Initiative believing the best is yet to come. We have met Albertine to ask her about her experience and her future plans.

Mara Sartore: Could you tell us about your experience of the past five years working with Caribbean artists and in particular could you describe the cultural situation in the region?

Albertine Kopp: The cultural scene in the Caribbean is extremely rich and flourishing. Unfortunately this scene is still underestimated, certainly outside the region but even locally, I think, as if it is not operating at its true potential. This is due to a number of factors. There is no real ecosystem for the arts across the Caribbean that could coalesce the individual efforts in each location and better connect with each respective nation and territory there. There are some very good institutions throughout, but there is a lack of governmental support and hence a lack of visibility for the Caribbean art scene.
With the Davidoff Art Initiative (DAI) we created a platform that helped to grow the interest for the entire region over the past five years. The residency program was the cornerstone of this engagement, and the exchanges that were made possible through this residency, as well as in meeting and working with myriad professionals throughout the Caribbean and internationally, were extremely rich and inspiring.
I am excited to see how many great events and exchanges are happening, even as DAI winds down, and how many new formats for inter- and intra-cultural dialogue, such as Tilting Axis , Curando Caribe or the latest residency for Puerto Rican artitst by Artists Alliance Inc., and Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center, in collaboration with Embajada

Mara Sartore: The centerpiece of the Davidoff Art Initiative was the residency program, why are they so important?

Albertine Kopp: From the beginning we wanted to address the lack of visibility. The idea is to offer an opportunity for professional mobility in a different cultural zone while connecting to other artists who could spread the word about the Caribbean region.
To leave one Caribbean island for another one, or even another country, is logistically and financially challenging. With DAI we partnered with different places: with the idea to connect the artists with different local and global cultural networks; providing exposure for research and practice as well as to share creative and critical expertise with peers from around the world.
The experience can be crucial for the artists’ respective practices and make a lot of sense, as they are forced to leave their comfort zone and get encouraged in their development. But think about it, arriving to a place, where you don’t yet know anyone. It forces you to be open-minded, to discover, connect, and create links that one can nurture later through the advancements of social media and technology. I am still dreaming of doing a residency one day myself, I believe the residency is the best possibility to grow without leaving one’s origin forever.

Mara Sartore: In your view what was the most important achievement of the Davidoff Art Initiative (DAI) program?

Albertine Kopp: It has been an extraordinary human adventure. We are a big family, if you want to see it that way. This is also how we call it between artists and friends: the Davidoff Family. There is always a door open and someone within DAI around to support and give advice. Through our global platform, we were able to enhance visibility to the Caribbean art scene and provide a trusted network to all participants and partners. I think we demonstrated how a successful corporate sponsorship programs looks like. In that sense, Davidoff Art Initiative was a proof of concept that demonstrated the successful CSR implementation with mutual benefit to arts as well as the brand. For that, you need to find the right balance between business requirements, the needs of the art program and the human being. Long term it was very important to be credible and build from the beginning a solid program otherwise it would have not been taken seriously by the established arts scene and it would have been only a marketing initiative.
The strength of DAI is that it is centered on the art and artists and that it is open. I’m not sure if it helps to be Swiss and so what we like to say neutral, but the program is neutral within the Caribbean. It belongs to all at the same time. It is about facilitating access, building visibility, and it is open to everyone.

Mara Sartore: Could you mention Caribbean artists that have benefited from the Initiative and started off a successful international career?

Albertine Kopp: The personal engagement behind the program is super important. Without this human engagement, projects like Transeúnte by Jimmy Robert, which occurred both at Altos de Chavón in the Dominican Republic and at Universität der Künste in Berlin, would have never happened.
Also, we were really proud to see Tessa Mars, Mimi Cherono Ng’ok, and Christopher Cozier engaging with the Berlin Biennale this year, as well as Engel Leonardo entering the Reina Sofia Permanent Collection in Madrid, and Jesus “Bubu” Negron with Brigada PdT, presenting this community project at the Serpentine in London.
These are only a few example of great success that followed Davidoff resident artists. I could go on for hours, detailing each artist’s activities now… I think the most important memory to recall are all the wonderful and unique friendships and networks that we were able to create over the past years. Without this unique network of over 150 people, all over the world, we would not have built such an initiative.

Mara Sartore: Could you tell us about your new venture: the Caribbean Art Initiative? In which way this will continue your past activities and in what it will be different?

Albertine Kopp: We want to build on previous successes given the huge cultural potential of the entire region. The initiative’s primary focus is on Caribbean arts and artists, including the Caribbean Diaspora. We aim to create an open and active dialogue with artists and institutions around the world.
We want to create opportunities for artists, writers, and curators from the Caribbean region to engage with the world, and for international artists, writers, and curators to engage with the rich and diverse cultural context of the Caribbean. Even more than in the past we would like to promote educational development and community building. In an ideal world a program encompasses residencies, research trips, and platforms for cultural discourse.
We will work with arts institutions and not-for-profits that exhibit and support artists in the Caribbean region, while also participating in international events that foster an interplay between regional and global arts scenes. Not being tied to only one brand will allow us to collaborate with more partners and act truly independent; clearly, this also allows us to be more flexible and address various needs. This is essential, the program should be a long term community oriented venture accessible for everyone.

Mara Sartore: In your vision which is the role the Caribbean can play in the contemporary art scene and how it can grow?

Albertine Kopp: The scene is already growing, if you look at the past exhibitions at the Perez Museum in Miami, or the growing profiles of Caribbean artists in Latin American shows. And of course, there is an interest towards the past as well, such as the latest show at the MASP, “Afro-Atlantic Histories”, with over 20 works on loan from museums across the Caribbean region or from Caribbean artists. International art fairs start to recognize the region too, such as ARCO Madrid inviting last year Sindicato from the Dominican Republic and we look forward this fall to see the program by Sara Hermann for ArtBo.

Mara Sartore: What is the contribution that international initiatives and institutions can bring to the region?

Albertine Kopp: A difficulty in the Caribbean is that support is oftentimes ephemeral, and this is why we are looking with the Caribbean Art Initiative to make this support concrete, evolving, and ultimately long-lasting.
We hope to foster and grow the global network we established over the past five years to achieve something fruitful and reciprocal, and ultimately durable, for the entire region that builds on the potential of all islands. Many international actors are doing business in or with this region. We are starting the discussions and are actively looking at this stage for potential sponsors.
Our concept of collaboration is that is not about the amount of dollars pledged, but much more about committing one-self for the long-term. We understand that business requires adjustment and refocus on sponsoring activities from time to time. But the most successful partnerships are ultimately not short-term. Just think of BMW, Deutsche Bank, LVMH or Migros in Switzerland. Some might want to dismiss it as naïve but our vision is to create a network of new partners and sponsors that share the same goal of supporting the region. We are convinced that the potential for engagement and exchange is huge and can be fruitful.
With the knowhow won over the past five years, we hope to create as we did with the artists’ community, a new sponsor family that shares a similar, long-term interest in the Caribbean and also business activities. We are convinced that the potential for engagement and exchange is huge and can be fruitful. Once we are up and running, we are very open to discuss and incubate new formats of exchange for everyone involved: artists, corporate sponsors, institutions, and everyone individually interested in the Caribbean arts scene.

  • Albertine Kopp with Andras Szantó (on the left) and Stephen Kaplan (on the right) Albertine Kopp with Andras Szantó (on the left) and Stephen Kaplan (on the right)
  • Transeunte Project by Jimmy Roberts © Alfredo Esteban Photography Transeunte Project by Jimmy Roberts © Alfredo Esteban Photography
  • Inauguration of the construction of the Davidoff Art Studios in Altos de Chavón, 2014 Inauguration of the construction of the Davidoff Art Studios in Altos de Chavón, 2014
  • First tilting Axis in 2014 in Barbados at Fresh Milk First tilting Axis in 2014 in Barbados at Fresh Milk
  • Tessa Mars in Residency in New York with Residency Unlimited © Thisby Cheng Tessa Mars in Residency in New York with Residency Unlimited © Thisby Cheng
  • The Venezuelan Pavilion was designed by architect Alejandro Pietri in 1954 for the Feria de la Paz y la Confraternidad del Mundo Libre (Fair of Peace and Fraternity of the Free World), an international event organised by dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo to mark the 25th year of his rule. The Venezuelan Pavilion was designed by architect Alejandro Pietri in 1954 for the Feria de la Paz y la Confraternidad del Mundo Libre (Fair of Peace and Fraternity of the Free World), an international event organised by dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo to mark the 25th year of his rule.
  • Transeunte Project by Jimmy Roberts © Alfredo Esteban Photography Transeunte Project by Jimmy Roberts © Alfredo Esteban Photography
  • Yornel Elias Martinez in Residency with Atelier Mondial and FHNW Institut der Künste 2017 Yornel Elias Martinez in Residency with Atelier Mondial and FHNW Institut der Künste 2017
  • Jesus Bubu Negron in Residency with Red Gate Residency Beijing 2017 Jesus Bubu Negron in Residency with Red Gate Residency Beijing 2017
  • O’Neil Lawrence, Albertine Kopp, Sara Hermann, Pablo Leon de La Barra, part of the DAI Council during the last Tilting Axis 4 in collaboration with Curando Caribe in the Dominican Republic. O’Neil Lawrence, Albertine Kopp, Sara Hermann, Pablo Leon de La Barra, part of the DAI Council during the last Tilting Axis 4 in collaboration with Curando Caribe in the Dominican Republic.

Artist Tamás Waliczky selected to represent Hungary during 2019 Venice Biennale

1 week ago

The animation and new media artist Tamás Waliczky has been announced by the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art in Budapest to represent Hungary during 58th International Art Exhibition, 2019 Venice Biennale. The Hungarian pavilion exhibition, under the curatorship of Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák, will be titled “Cameras – Imaginary Cameras and Other Optical Devices” and will include fictional movie and photographic cameras and projectors, conceived by the artist in 2016.

Born in Budapest, Waliczky uses different media like painting, illustration, photography, and digital art, to question how we see the world. His work has been featured in international exhibitions such as the Biennale de Lyon and the Biennial of Seville and can be found in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Kunstmuseum Bonn in Germany, and the Ludwig Museum in Budapest.

58th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2019
May 11 – November 24, 2018
Venice, IT

Alessandra Bellomo

  • Artist Tamás Waliczky and curator Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák © Ludwig Múzeum Artist Tamás Waliczky and curator Zsuzsanna Szegedy-Maszák © Ludwig Múzeum

2018 St. Moritz Art Masters to take place at the end of August

1 week ago

The new edition of St. Moritz Art Masters will take place in Saint Moritz from August 31 to September 9, 2018, spread across different venues .

During the ten-days of the art and culture summer festival, a wide range of cultural events and exhibitions along with classic music evenings will take place, enhancing St. Moritz and the whole Engadine Valley with cultural exhibitions of national and international contemporary artists. The 2018 edition will mark the eleventh year from the beginning of the cultural manifestation, constituting as usual one fo the highlights of summer season in St. Moritz.

2018 St. Moritz Art Masters
August 31 – September 9, 2018
St. Moritz, Switzerland


Alessandra Bellomo

  • St. Moritz, Switzerland St. Moritz, Switzerland
Venice - Posts

Artist Shu Lea Cheang to Represent Taiwan at the Venice Biennale 2019

1 week ago

Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) has announced artist Shu Lea Cheang to represent Taiwan at the next 58th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale, 2019. Since the pavilion began hosting solo exhibitions, the artist is the first woman selected to represent the country at the Venice Biennale, in the setting of Palazzo delle Prigioni, Venice.
In the words of Ping Lin, director of TFAM, “In recent years Taiwanese artists and art institutions have elevated their participation in the global art community, generating a more refined and complex network of connections…Shu Lea Cheang, a pioneer of net art, not only in Taiwan but around the world, emerged as the first choice.”

The Taiwanese artist is known for her net art installations, films and art actions, which investigate the grey area between technology and humanity. She cofounded Kingdom of Piracy, an online workspace to promote free sharing of digital content and ideas, while her net art work Brandon, 1998-1999, is the first web artwork commissioned and collected by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

The exhibition will be curated by Paul B. Preciado, who has conducted leading researches about gender, sexuality, and body studies. Preciado taught in Paris and New York , was Head of Research at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona and Curator of Public Programs for Documenta 14 in 2017.

Taiwan in Venice
58th International Art Exhibition – Collateral Events
Venice,  May 11 – November 24, 2019






Alessandra Bellomo

  • Artist Su Lea Cheang and curator Paul B. Preciado Artist Su Lea Cheang and curator Paul B. Preciado
Hong Kong - Posts

CHAT, Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, Hong Kong, opens to the public with special summer programme

1 week ago

As a prelude to its official opening in Spring 2019, the Centre for Heritage, Arts & Textile (CHAT, Hong Kong) opens its doors to the public with the special event ‘CHAT GO! Let’s Build a Textile Village’. The unique programme takes place from 28 July to 19 August 2018 with a wide range of initiatives dedicated to the topic of textile tradition in the Hong Kong area. The festival is the third edition of CHAT scheduled art activities, offered since 2016: after the “Warm Up” and “Set up” phases, the 2018 edition is a call to the action.

The activities are divided into four series, which involve actively the visitors in production and creative workshops, artists’ talks and film screenings, all hosted in CHAT of The Mills, a complex of former cotton spinning mills of Nan Fung Textiles Limited. The exhibiting area partly recreates a ‘Textile Village’ that brings together communities, artists and crafters, and is divided into five zones, one of which has been redesigned by Assemble, the winner of 2015 Turner Prize. The programme is further enriched by the traditional performance of the ‘fire dragon dance’, inspired by Hong Kong dragon traditional shows.

In curator Mr. Him Lo‘s words, the aim is to invite people to experience the legend of Hong Kong textile industry in the past and its significance for the present society and to spread stronger connections between visitors, artists and stakeholders from all around the world, in the optic of future collaborations and partnerships with the wider Hong Kong communities.

CHAT GO! Let’s Build a Textile Village
July 28 – August 19, 2018

Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT), Hong Kong







Alessandra Bellomo

  • Dragon Dance performance, Courtesy of Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT) Dragon Dance performance, Courtesy of Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT)
Singapore - Posts

New art fair to enrich Singapore’s contemporary art scene

2 weeks ago

New joint ventures and art fairs will enrich Singapore’s contemporary art scene, despite the city having revealed a though market.

A new fair will be launched in November 2019, namely Art SG, as a result of the partnership between Swiss MCH Group, owner of the Art Basel franchise,  Sandy Angus of Angus Montgomery Arts and the events organiser Tim Etchells. Aim of the last two, also co-founder of Art HG (Hong Kong), entered in Art Basel’s portfolio, is to replicate the success of the Chinese fair.

The two are confident in this new cooperation, despite the difficulties shown by Singapore’s art market: existing art fairs, such as Art Stage Singapore, Singapore Contemporary Art Show and the Affordable Art Fair (AAF) had to deal with cuts and drop in the number of participations. On the contrary, Etchell proves himself confident of the strong attractiveness of the new fair, thanks to the massive network of galleries and collectors and experience of its partners. Moreover, Singapore would benefit from its geographical position to reach Southeast Asian collectors.

There are other signs of growth in the market: another art fair, SEA Focus, is due to launch in January with around 40 galleries, the half of which are local. Magnus Renfrew, another co-founder of Art HK, is launching a new fair called Taipei Dangdai in Taipei in January.


Alessandra Bellomo

  • Singapore Contemporary Singapore Contemporary
Copenhagen - Posts

Chart Art Fair 2018 to open August 31 with an expanded program

2 weeks ago

Chart, leading Nordic contemporary art fair, will take place from next August 31  to September 2, including the foremost galleries from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The fair, conceived by the five leading galleries of the Nordic region, namely Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, V1 Gallery, Andersen’s Contemporary and David Risley Gallery, will open as usual in the spaces of Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen.

This year’s edition will expand, since will feature a second venue, namely the Den Frie Centre of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen, the first artists’ association to be founded in Denmark.  The centre will be the new home for Chart Design, the section dedicated to collectible design in the Nordic region, with the aim to grow it in an actual fair complementary to the main one, to reflect the current state of constant contamination between arts and design.

Chart Art Fair
August 31 – September 2, 2018
Copenhagen, Denmark



Alessandra Bellomo

  • Chart Art Fair, Copenhagen Chart Art Fair, Copenhagen
England - Posts

Yves Klein’s retrospective show taking over baroque Blenheim Palace

2 weeks ago

The baroque British Blenheim Palace is a sumptuous 18th-century country house built for military commander John Churchill and the house where British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was born. On the year who marks the anniversary of his ninetieth birthday, the mansion opens its doors to more than fifty works by the iconic French artist Yves Klein, installed throughout the palace, merged with the traditional baroque setting.

The retrospective Yves Klein at Blenheim Palace brings together paintings, sculptures and large-scale installations, most of which in his officially trademarked International Klein Blue (IKB) pigment, including an “Anthropometry” painting and several of Klein’s signature “Monochrome Paintings.” The exhibition constitutes also the most comprehensive one ever dedicated in the UK to the famous artist.

This is the fifth show that the estate dedicates to major living or contemporary artists, thanks to the initiative of the non-profit Blenheim Art Foundation, unusually juxtaposing old and contemporary collections to offer to the visitors new experiences.

Yves Klein at Blenheim Palace
July 18 – October 7, 2018

Blenheim Palace, UK









Alessandra Bellomo

  • Yves Klein at Blenheim Palace Yves Klein at Blenheim Palace
Berlin - Posts

Berlin Art Week to open in German capital in two months

2 weeks ago

From 26-30 September 2018, the German capital becomes the stage of the seventh Berlin Art Week, welcoming both established and yet to be discovered contemporary artists. The program will develop all around the city, involving several museums, institutions and art spaces, even less well-known ones, with a wide offer of exhibitions, performances, tours, special events and award ceremonies.

One of the main focus will be on the art fairs hosted for the first time in the hangars of the former Tempelhof Airport: Art Berlin’s second edition, with more than 120 national and international exhibiting galleries, and the fifth Positions Berlin Art Fair, featuring  exhibitors gallery besides a varied cultural proposal.

This year’s Art Week special spotlights will be solo exhibitions by Lee BulAgnieszka PolskaJulian CharrièreLawrence Abu HamdanCecilia Jonsson, Nicholas Nixon and Evelyn Taocheng Wang. A special focus will be dedicated to photography, while greater space has been accorded to public spaces and performative interventions.

Berlin Art Week
September 26 – 30, 2018
Berlin, Germany


Alessandra Bellomo

  • Art Berlin Fair 2017 Art Berlin Fair 2017
Seattle - Posts

Seattle Art Fair is Back with a New Artistic Director

2 weeks ago

The Seattle Art Fair 2018 will take place on the first week end of August, constituting once more a point of reference for all the art community of the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 2015 and based in Seattle, the fair will host more than 100 galleries, bringing together national and international collectors, galleries, museums and institutions.
The upcoming edition marks the first year that Nato Thompson will serve as the fair’s artistic director. In a statement, Max Fishko, the fair’s director, said, “This year cements the fair as a key event in the international art world calendar, with a robust exhibitor list that brings together blue-chip galleries, emerging international players, and Seattle’s local institutions. We’re excited to offer a platform for the best contemporary art, as well as an energized program of events curated by Nato Thompson.”
Taking place from 2nd to 5th of August, it will be enriched by an intensive program of collateral activities, projects and talks. Initiatives will involve live performances, such as the one by artists Charlene Vickers and Maria Hupfield, solo exhibitions, as for example “Here Come the Boren Sisters” by Wayne White, installations, demonstrations and more.


Seattle Art Fair 2018
August 2 – 5, 2018
Seattle, WA, US

Alessandra Bellomo

  • Seattle Art Fair Seattle Art Fair