Art and culture Andrea González

Buenos Aires at the vanguard

Buenos Aires, where many famous artists and intellectuals of the 20th century congregated, has become a giant urban canvas. Younger generations see the city as a workshop and benchmark, while older ones have developed an interesting mix of galleries and cultural centres. The city, which has become one of Latin America’s main art capitals, provides a scene in which traditional institutions converse with underground artists, large and small works abound, and inspiration meets the avant-garde. Discover it from 51,000 Avios (return).

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires
Museum of Contemporary Art of Buenos Aires in San Telmo

To delve into Buenos Aires’s creative life, it’s essential to visit its great contemporary art museums, the MALBA (Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires) and the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art in Buenos Aires). Both museums explore the history of art from the past century to today. The former focuses on Latin American activity and includes works by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Tarsila do Amaral, while the latter takes a look at local and international creative output since the early 20th century in Argentina, Europe, the US, Brazil and Chile.

Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires
Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA)

Every year, the city plays hosts to two art fairs: arteba, organised by the NGO of the same name, has been the region’s biggest art get-together (this year, it will be held from 7-9 October) and MAPA, an exhibition for gallery owners and projects, which has just held its fourth edition with the participation of more than 40 institutions.

The Gallery project, which organises tours of three circuits – Buenos Aires’s most artistic districts – fosters many initiatives. This year, for the first time, it is providing a tour of the Palermo and Villa Crespo districts. The Gachi Prieto gallery, with its educational initiative Proyecto PAC, is one of the many galleries in this sector. It currently represents 20 artists, both local and international, and organises eight new exhibitions every year with some of the world’s most forward-thinking creatives.

Also in Palermo, Galeria Union focuses on urban art, one of the city’s great and undisputed stars of the city. The centre was opened by the founders of Graffitimundo to bring together artists creating murals, graffiti and art in public spaces. After working with companies such as Facebook and Young & Rubicam, they’re a reference for everyone wishing to meet local urban artists since the early 2000s. The group is currently looking for a new space in the district.

Mural pintado por Nicolás Romero Escalada en el barrio de Palermo
Mural painted by Nicolás Romero Escalada in Palermo neighborhood

In Buenos Aires, the most vibrant initiatives come from the street, which is a genuine outdoor museum. Graffiti, murals and installations transform the landscape of neighbourhoods such as Palermo, Villa Crespo, Colegiales, Recoleta and La Boca. The works of Argentine artists such as Santiago Spirito, Campos Jesses and Nicolás Romero Escalada – who have worked in New York, Madrid and Mexico City – are a colourful tribute to the traditions, character and iconic characters of every district.

Born of this urban movement, the Recoleta Cultural Centre, a public space for young people located in a former convent that’s more than 300 years old, is one of the city’s go-to points. Its very extensive cultural offering includes concerts – particularly urban music – art and book fairs, exhibitions on Latin American culture and exhibitions by young artists curated by internationally known professionals, who believe that the local circuit will only continue to expand.

Fachada del Centro Cultural Recoleta en 2019
The Recoleta Cultural Centre's facade in 2019