The small store is cluttered with artworks: art on the walls, art covering every table. There are even strings of photographs hanging from the ceiling, leftover from a recent event with photographer Marcos Lopez; it looks as though someone has left the pictures out to dry…
Quorum sells art, but without the pretension. “Quorum is an store whose philosophy is to have art that is accessible for everyone,” explains Olivier Leveaufre, one of the owners. “Our goal was to create a pleasant space where people aren’t afraid to come inside…in art galleries, people don’t want to go in. They say ‘it’s not my world, I don’t know anything about art, it’s very expensive for me.’ We wanted something different, a warm space where people can come in only to look around if they want to, they can ask about the prices…We wanted to have a more direct link between people and art.”
This spirit can be felt throughout the store. Shoppers are encouraged to sift through the piles of prints stacked on the tables and rummage through boxes to find hidden treasures. Quorum currently features work from over 60 artists, and new works that come in don’t always find space on the walls. Prices start as low as $100 for some of the smaller pieces, though some of the more famous artists featured can command prices as high as $30,000 for larger works.
The store is run by a trio of artists themselves, and have been involved in the Buenos Aires scene for years: husband-and-wife-team Olivier Leveaufre and Maria Carrera also run Selva, a company that makes “wearable art,” by printing works on T-shirts and everyday usable items such as notebooks and magnets. Maria’s brother Santiago Carrera, the third member of the team, is a photographer. Some of their pieces are on display, but most of the art displayed is from national (and a few international) emerging artists, such as the Italian painter Mirco Marcacci or serigraph artist Cumby Giraudi.
When Quorum first opened the owners tapped into their network of artist friends to find creators who would be interested in selling their work in the store. They were quickly overrun with offers. As Carrera (Maria) puts it, “we started calling on our circle of artists and it grew very quickly. People recommended more artists, and we met people at exhibitions and galleries.” But they also received work from artists they hadn’t known before. “A few artists we didn’t know started sending us works, and we still receive works from many artists. And we liked some of them, and they are now for sale in Quorum,” says Leveaufre. Recently they have started to take in fewer new works and new artists for lack of space.
Quorum plans to branch out in the future, with events and an online store. “We have two events planned this year. One in September will be with the artist Sael, who works mostly with strong, colorful lines. It will be a very cool event because he is going to work with the entire façade of the building and the terrace we have upstairs,” says Leveaufre. The terrace won’t be open to the public, but Sael’s work will be projected live downstairs. Another event in December will showcase engravers from La Fabrica de Estampas working directly in Quorum.
The store is hard to miss on San Telmo’s Defensa Street, home of the Sunday fair: the façade is painted bright blue and can be seen from down the block. It is a great place to buy a gift or find interesting pieces to decorate your PH. If you’re strolling through San Telmo, don’t miss the chance to visit Quorum and get a sample of Buenos Aires’ thriving art scene for yourself.
Quorum is on Defensa 894 and is open weekly from Tuesday to Sunday, 11.30am to 8pm.