When Aldo Castillo was hired as associate director of the Miami International Art Fair (MIA) last year he didn't expect that the experience would land him a higher profile gig on the international stage. "I was hired by International Fine Arts Expositions to organize the seven fairs the company operates including MIA, Art Palm Beach, and other fairs in Naples, Sarasota, and London," says the art dealer and curator. "But I have since accepted a position as the associate director for the new American Pavilion at the Shanghai Art Fair taking place this year from September 14-18," Castillo says. "This marks the first time in the fifteen-year history of this Chinese fair that American galleries have had the opportunity to participate. My goals are to invite between 50 and 75 top-flight galleries from the United States with an emphasis on Miami and the incredible talent that is developing here."
During his brief tenure with MIA, Castillo made sure that at least a third of the roster at the Miami Beach Convention Center this past January included Miami galleries. Among the space he showcased were Wynwood's Dot Fiftyone, Black Square Gallery, Diana Lowenstein Fine Arts, Ascaso Gallery, Galerie Lelia Mordoch, Pan American Fine Arts, and others he felt represented Miami's thriving art scene. Now he wants to bring them to Shanghai for Asia to discover what's happening in Miami.
"The owners of MIA pioneered Art Miami back in 1991 and I had been coming to Miami for years as an art dealer with my Chicago gallery participating in that fair," Castillo says. "Since then Miami has become the largest center of art fairs in the world because of Basel's presence here."
Castillo said that the problem with Basel is the scant participation of local galleries, many of which shop their wares at the ancillary fairs during the December arts confab. "My goal as MIA's director was to include overlooked local spaces and support Miami's incredible scene," he says. "We had 25 Miami galleries at MIA. Now that I am organizing the Shanghai Art Fair's American Pavilion, I am inviting many of the Miami galleries and artists that participated in MIA to join me in China this year."
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Castillo is no stranger to cultural exchange. While in Chicago he organized the Arte Ahora Art Fair, the only event of its type to feature Latin American art in the Midwest. He also partnered with the Netherland's Office of Tourism in 2002, resulting in the Art Institute of Chicago and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam organizing the "Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South" exhibit to promote cultural exchange between the United States and Holland he says.
During his recent stint with MIA, Castillo became besotted with our city and has since moved to Key Biscayne. "I love Miami and wanted to make this my base of operations while working on the Shanghai Fair. For me, art fairs have become a sort of traveling museum where tens of thousands of people can see the best contemporary art has to offer in the span of a few days. I want to take Miami's top notch galleries and artists to China and introduce them to an emerging class of collectors from the international community and Asia in the second largest economy in the world," says Castillo, also mentioning that locals interested can contact him here.