Art Market

Collector Amalia Amoedo’s New Art Space and Residency Aims to Put Latinx Artists on a Global Stage

Osman Can Yerebakan
Nov 22, 2021 5:40PM

Marcelo Pombo, El tamborcito de Curupaytí (“The Little Drum of Curupaytí”), 2019. Photo by Santiago Orti. Courtesy of Colección Ama Amoedo.

Portrait of Amalia Amoedo. Courtesy of Amalia Amoedo.

Amalia Amoedo found her way to collecting in much the same way that many others have caught the bug—through a family tradition, spearheaded by her namesake grandmother, the Argentine businesswoman Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat. But it was her brother who really exposed her to the art world. Indeed, it was he who gave her the very first artwork to enter her collection at age 19—a colorful oil canvas by the Argentine geometric abstractionist Graciela Hasper. The painting now resides at her second home in Miami.

“I learned how to look at the work through my grandmother, but my first introduction to collecting was through my late brother Alejandro,” Amoedo said. “He’d take me to galleries and artist studios—it all started with him.”

Feliciano Centurión, Sin título (tigres) (“Untitled (Tigers)”), ca. 1990. Courtesy of Colección Ama Amoedo.


The Hasper was followed by an abstract acrylic painting by multimedia artist Marcelo Pombo, and from there, Amoedo, who is now 45, embarked on two decades of collecting—departing from her family’s history of amassing older, early modern and 20th-century artworks and cultivating an eye for contemporary work.

“I am a relaxed and independent woman, so I buy what I like,” said Amoedo, who is also a painter herself. “I hear what art advisors and peers tell me about the trends, but I follow a personal path.” This instinctive and laid-back approach to art extends to her newest venture: an eponymous art foundation and residency program, located down the road from her house in José Ignacio, Uruguay.

Casa Neptuna in José Ignacio, Uruguay. Courtesy of Fundación Ama Amoedo.

The short- and long-term goal of Fundación Ama Amoedo Residencia Artística is “to introduce Latin American art to the broader world,” she explained. A few years in the making, the foundation and residency came out of a desire to unite her 600-work collection and art philanthropy projects under a single umbrella. She remembers telling her grandmother—whose name today graces the Buenos Aires museum Colección de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat—about her dream to one day open an art center.

Now a reality, the foundation and residency will reflect the no-fuss attitude with which Amoedo approaches her collection. The residency will host a rotation of two artists at a time for six-week periods inside Casa Neptuna, a whimsically designed building by the Argentine architect Edgardo Giménez. “It’s a piece of art itself, made by a great artist,” Amoedo said of the bright green structure that might easily be mistaken for a dream castle from a children’s book.

Casa Neptuna in José Ignacio, Uruguay. Courtesy of Fundación Ama Amoedo.

Boldly colorful and irresistibly striking, the 1,500-square-foot building, located in a fishing village, encapsulates the residency’s philosophy of supporting boundary-pushing art in an intimate environment. “I am sensitive with time, and pay attention to what it takes to create art,” Amoedo said.

She invited an independent committee, composed of Latinx art experts Aimé Iglesias Lukin, Magali Arriola, and Inti Guerrero, to select the artists from across the region. Puerto Rican artist Sofía Gallisá Muriente and Argentine artist Marcela Sinclair will inaugurate the program this month, followed by Liliana Angulo Cortés, Andrés Bedoya, Noé Martínez, and Adriana Bustos. “I had never heard of some of the selectees before, which is great,” Amoedo commented about the list of incoming residents.

Feliciano Centurión, Sin título (“Untitled”), ca. 1990. Courtesy of Colección Ama Amoedo.

Marta Minujín, Sin título (“Untitled”), 1973–74. Photo by Estudio Giménez-Duhau. Courtesy of Colección Ama Amoedo.

Besides enjoying a strong dialogue with the founder herself, the artists will receive visits from critics, curators, and dealers. The six artists’ work will ultimately be unveiled in a group exhibition during Art Basel in Miami Beach in 2022. While the venue is yet to be announced, Amoedo is certain that the works will be influenced by the surrounding flora and the beach near the residency.

For Amoedo, the foundation and residency is a new chapter in a life immersed in art. Her commitment to supporting creatives is on clear display inside her homes in Buenos Aires and Miami, where she tends to rotate the art twice a year. She has historically taken pains to do justice to the work, and once installed a massive Paola Vega painting on her ceiling. “The only large surface that could accommodate the dimensions was the ceiling, and it has actually worked with the painting’s sky-blue tones,” she remarked.

Marcela Pombo, Templo del ladrillo de oro (“The Golden Brick Temple”), 2019. Photo by Santiago Orti. Courtesy of Colección Ama Amoedo.

Amoedo has deep interests in astrology and fashion, ones that blend into her collection. Another persistent thread through her holdings is spiritual abstraction—prevalent in the mysterious forms and cerebral hues in many of her paintings. A pink Feliciano Centurión painting with lace details of animals and nature over fabric adorns the collector’s living room in Uruguay.

The collector and patron has a personal rule of acquiring two works at a time by each artist. She owns two demure acrylics by Fernanda Laguna, for example, and a duo of humorous mixed-media paintings by Marcia Schvartz. “I have two teenage daughters, so I make sure to buy one artwork for each,” she said, noting that her daughters have begun joining her for studio visits.

Marcia Schvartz, La pata loca (“Crazy Duck”), 2010. Courtesy of Colección Ama Amoedo.

Feliciano Centurión, Tu presencia se confirma en nosotros (“Your presence is confirmed within us”), ca. 1990. Courtesy of Colección Ama Amoedo.

Whether or not her children will continue the family tradition, Amoedo is clearly committed to cementing her legacy. Besides spearheading her grandmother’s museum and now pursuing an art space in her own name, she is a member of the Acquisition Committee of the International Circle Latin America of Centre Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art’s Latin American and Caribbean Fund. Until recently, she was also the president at the Buenos Aires contemporary art fair arteBA. She moved on from the position because she felt she could have more impact channeling that energy into a foundation.

That impact, she hopes, will be felt beyond the art world. In both her collecting and philanthropy efforts, Amoedo goes in search of artists who serve a cause outside of their practices. She points to Marcelo Pombo, who worked with children that suffered from mental illness, as an example.

“I am amazed by artists who use their voices,” she said. For her own part, Amoedo feels called to serve artists—to create a refuge out of which creatives will be better able to make their mark on the world.

Osman Can Yerebakan

Thumbnail image: Portrait of Amalia Amoedo at Casa Neptuna in José Ignacio, Uruguay. Courtesy of Amalia Amoedo.