Artist Laura Malacart talks to Gabriella Schevach, Spanish editor of bilingual arts blog Juanele Ar about where to find out what's happening in the Buenos Aires arts scene.
Laura Malacart - Gabriela, you've been working for an art site called Juanele Ar which is bilingual English/Spanish: could you say something about this project, how long it's been active its ethos? What's Juanela's role amongst other web publications on the arts (which ones?), who does it cater for in Buenos Aires and beyond? (PS what's your position in it? editorial? did you found it?)
Gabriella Schevach.: Two Americans living in Buenos Aires wanted to make an arts blog for the English speaking tourists visiting here. Rick Powell, the designer and editor, started it in May 2010. I came in the next month and began writing, taking photos and translating for the site until December 2011.
But Juanele Ar increasingly became an interesting source for locals too because we covered things that other publications didn't pay attention to, while we were also doing features about the big stuff, always trying to keep honest, smart and informal. Soon afterward, since most content was bilingual, Rick redesigned the page to have an English and a Spanish site and I became in charge of editing the Spanish text.
LM: Aside from web organs what are the print outlets that impact in the arts, in terms of criticism, discourses, listings, news?
GS: The journalistic, regular publications that impact the cultural scene here in terms of criticism are mainly the cultural supplements coming out with the Sunday newspapers. They usually cover the big, mainstream events and have strong corporate interests that determine the content. Juanele worked without those constraints and focused more specifically in the visual arts.
LM: In terms of listings and criticism does an outsider interested in the art scene learn what's happening in Buenos Aires, what to see? (where would you advise to look, web or specific places, newletters etc).
GS: For listings, you can check Mapa de las Artes, Arsomnibus and Arte al Día, all three of them quite exhaustive. Ramona also makes listings and reviews, but is less commercially oriented and is more selective. Including artists' calls, it's more specifically made for and by artists.
LM: Can you say a bit more about Juanele Ar : how does the editorial work, what do you look for, how often is it updated, is it about information or criticism, what other organs does it compare and compete to, or does not compare to?...
GS: Juanele Ar used to send out newsletter every Monday in English and Spanish with a selection of art events of the week and with links to the artists' and galleries' sites. In this sense we had the same social function as the listings I've mentioned. The site was updated on Monday and Wednesday with a new feature (longer article, mostly bilingual) and then on Friday with an artist's portfolio, which was a space for artists to publish their own work. Here, we kept our edits to a minimum and I translated the statements or the text submitted (it could be a poem, an interview, whatever the artist wanted). The "blog and news" section was updated more randomly and it was usually a faster and more impressionistic account of an event.
Juanele Ar differed from Sauna, for instance, in the sense that it wasn't devised as a magazine. Sauna, although an online organ, is structured around an interview, an editorial statement, a content index and a cover. It comes out every month. Ramona, on the other hand, publishes reviews from gallery goers and started as an artist project by Roberto Jacoby. Juanele Ar was a professional blog covering visual arts exhibits. Some times, it hosted arty events (poetry readings, music concerts) at the office and sponsored graffiti murals (I wasn't involved in these). One of the main things is that it focused mostly on young artists working in the gallery scene that began after 2002 in San Telmo and Palermo. We started to write about them and they started to read us!