Interview : Art Monaco

Entrance of Art Monaco 2011. ©Art Monaco, 2011.

Entrance of Art Monaco 2011. ©Art Monaco, 2011.


With its 300 days of sunshine, fascinating stardom, royally royally aristocracy, and its famous tax heaven, Monaco, the world’s second smallest country, celebrates its sensational tag as the “Playground of the Rich and Famous” 365 days a year. Are all these tags glamorizing or pejorative? Well, you answer depends on which “%” group you belong to!! 

And what about an art fair for the “rich and famous”? Aren’t they passionate supporters of high taste and luxury life?  Art Monaco is there to answer the need and to re-generate the need… From 5th to 8th April, 2012 will witness the opening of the 3rd edition of Art Monaco, “where art meets glamour”. The 4 000 m2  Espace Diaghilev hall of Grimaldi Forum (with its 180° breathtaking sea view!) will host 60 exhibitors from all over the world, offering some 3 500 pieces of well-selected art and design works for art lovers, who are themselves carefully selected and invited by the committee to attend the event!

As the media partner of Art Monaco, we have the privilege to have Mr. Johnessco Rodriguez, President of Art Monaco’12 & Expoart Montreal, to share with us the ideas behind the fair and the special programs of the new edition before the fair opens its door to its prestigious guests.


JR - Johnessco Rodriguez
ST – Selina Ting for InitiArt Magazine


Mr. Johnessco Rodriguez, President of Art Monaco’12 & Expoart Montreal, at Art Monaco's event 2011. ©Art Monaco, 2011.

Mr. Johnessco Rodriguez, President of Art Monaco’12 & Expoart Montreal, at Art Monaco's event 2011. ©Art Monaco, 2011.


ST: Art Monaco was first launched in 2010 as a Special Edition. This year, we will witness the 3rd edition of the art fair in the Cotê d’Azur region. What motivated you to add in one more art fair to the existing 300 fairs we have in the world?

JR: I do believe that ART is not a luxury but a NEED for the exchange and preservation of the history of humanity. Art Monaco is for me, my little grain of sand to contribute towards that preservation for the one we are all responsible for. Every single one of the art fairs in the world have a unique factor and mission, ours is to be a high profile melting meeting point that creates new opportunities at both cultural and financial levels as well as to became an international platform of art that will make from one of the most exclusive places in the world as is Monaco to became during 4 days a Museum of international visual art. 

ST:  Back in 2010 when you set up the fair, what convinced you that it was the right moment and the right thing to do despite the financial crisis? What are your observations from the last two editions?

JR: Art Monaco is a business designed to meet the needs of the ever-changing culture, art and social world not only in the French Riviera but in Europe as well.  Indeed since our first edition most of the people told us it was not the right moment to create the event because of the financial crisis worldwide; however, we are responsible to create a need and our own opportunities and Monaco is the place which allow us to gather a wealthy group of art lovers and exclusive life consumers to buy art and at the same time by doing so we are able to help develop the economy by creating more job and business opportunities.

ST:  What are the attractions and potentials that Monaco presents to the international art market?

JR: Monaco is the current home of many established and emerging artists and from the world's cities; Monte Carlo is one of the most exclusive ones which has a huge potential to attract the principal  exhibitors, collectors and potential buyers interested in art, culture and investments related with the artistic world.


Art Monaco 2011. © Art Monaco.
Art Monaco 2011. © Art Monaco.


ST: How does Art Monaco distinguish itself from the other art fairs in terms of concept, program, gallery selection, etc.?

JR: Well, all other events make everything possible to be seeing by exhibitors and make it really easy for those interested to find application forms and to be part of their event and the more exhibitors they have the biggest the show will be. Art Monaco doesn't. The participation to our event is under invitation only and the only way to obtain the application is to be contacted by one of our team members. Art Monaco conducts a strict selection of exhibitors and artwork to ensure the high quality and excellence of the Fair. It will always maintain a pluralistic approach in terms of the visual trends to be presented and will focus especially on the projects expressing new artistic languages as well as emerging talents.
Art Monaco is an essential reference for the international cultural scene, and is established as one of the most exclusive and faster growing art events in the world.

ST: The 3rd edition will include Fine Art and design galleries. What are the reasons behind such inclusion? Do you consider it as a repositioning of the art fair?

JR: NO repositioning. We are adding only 10 stands to please our visitors and collectors and the amount of stands for this category will not increase.

ST:  What other new features or highlights can we expect to see in the 2012 edition?

JR: One of the characteristics of Art Monaco is that at every edition there is a particular and exclusive piece to be displayed as per example we had some artwork form Tamara Lempika that was in a private collection for over 30 years and showed only after that in our show. We have some beautiful pieces from Switzerland’s Galerie Rigassi as well as other artwork pertaining from all over the world. For 2012, we will display for exhibition and sale one of the first pieces from the series - painting in the space - by the Armenian artist Kotchar who once was considered to be a better artist than - Salvador Dali - and some Museum's quality original paintings from Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and we will have an important presentation of Latin American art with a special project called - BIGFOOT - .


Art Monaco 2011. © Art Monaco.
Art Monaco 2011. © Art Monaco.


ST: Just now you mentioned that Art Monaco has a very special approach to audience selection, by invitations. Why a small size audience is preferred to a high attendance figure? Based on what criteria is the audience selected? What are the implications in the sales performance? 

JR: Art shows as any other trade shows are defined by specific goals. Many shows are focused on the attendance which means the more number of visitors equals to more revenue for the show. However we are a business with different goals and our main objective is to make of Art Monaco a very successful show for both exhibitors and visitors. We target a premium clientele with a financial buying power that is excessively higher than rather than just an abundance of visitors.  Also, we ensure that our guests are genuinely interested in art.  Art Monaco offers opportunities in both aspects and that is the reason why the participation in our show is under invitation only.

ST: Who are the art buyers today?

JR: All of us, however there are different types of buyers. Those who have a trendy way to investing in pieces that are of high quality and then, there are those who rather purchase esthetically pleasing yet rather more affordable pieces to have for their home.  A common fact now a days is that  people are more educated in terms of buying art and the industry is continuously growing by profiting its visitors to be able to see several galleries in one day.


Art Monaco 2011. © Art Monaco.
Art Monaco 2011. © Art Monaco.


ST: How is Art Monaco financed? Are you actively seeking financial partners? 

JR: Today, Art Monaco is a sole proprietor company with presence in more than 52 countries and is one of the youngest art shows that is getting an international recognition very quickly.  As any other company, we will reach a point where merging and selling shares will be necessary to obtain more benefits and to expand.

ST: How do you project the future of Art Monaco? 

JR: Art Monaco has been designed to stay as an international meeting point that will generate opportunities amongst the art professionals wheatear they are galleries, artists, collectors, investors etc.  Nevertheless, we are also a new platform that offers a glamorous display for both international and well established as well as emerging galleries and artists. Part of our commitment with society is to continue with the promotion of art and the education of the new generations in regards the art and buying. At the moment, we already have three other shows filed for 2013 and these three new locations are not to be missed.

ST: Wish a wonderful fair in April and thank you very much!


Art Monaco 2011. © Art Monaco.
Art Monaco 2011. © Art Monaco.


Art Monaco’12
5 – 8 April 2012
Grimaldi Forum | Hall Diahilev