While Buenos Aires has long been a hub for traditional Latin American art, the city is currently awash in the vibrant hues and outspoken political protest of street art. Some of the city’s most talented artists have begun treating neighborhoods like open-air galleries, creating free-wheeling murals reflecting both the Argentine creative identity and propensity for political activism. During this 3-hour Buenos Aires Street Art tour led by an artist or an art curator, we’ll not only explore some of Buenos Aires’ most vivid, thriving corridors for street art, but we’ll also visit MALBA, the city’s best collection of 20th century Latin American art, in order to track how Argentine visual art has progressed from the Belle Epoque to today.
MALBA - Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires
We’ll begin our walk in the Museo de Arte Latinamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), the city’s preeminent collection of modern Latin American art. Founded in Palermo (where we also offer a Buenos Aires Wine Tour
) in 2001, the young museum has become a prominent voice in challenging the Eurocentric viewpoints that have dominated the art world for centuries. After discussing the museum’s history and creation, we’ll dive into the unique narratives and distinct perspectives of Latin American artists, focusing on the collection’s highlights: artworks by Berni, Botero, Xul Solar, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Ligia Clark, Tarsila do Amaral, Torres Garcia, Victor Gripo, and Jorge de la Vega among others. Our goal here is to establish a baseline understanding of Argentine contemporary art, which will serve us well when we dive into the Buenos Aires’ heady street art scene.
For more on Buenos Aires in the 20th century, try our Recoleta Cemetery Tour
, where we explore Evita and Peronism.
Buenos Aires Street Art Tour
Leaving the museum with a greater sense of Buenos Aires’ place in the history of modern Latin American art, we’ll hop into a taxi cab and head to Coghlan, a historic neighborhood with low-rise houses and a quiet ambiance that developed in the late 19th century around the local train station. Since 2000, however, this neighborhood has been an epicenter of street art in the city, driven in part by the abundance of large, blank concrete walls leftover from an unbuilt freeway. We will analyze the process of creation street art and its unique ephemeral nature, from spontaneous art to the carefully curated sponsored walls and restoration efforts undertaken by the local government.
One of our targets will be Pirovano Hospital, boasting 550 meters of largely unbroken perimeter that’s served as one of the most desirable canvases in the city. Artists have been painting Pirovano Hospital nonstop for over a decade, rendering it a constantly shifting public gallery reflecting not only changes in style, but social changes and the political climate in the city. Wrapping up, we’ll learn more about the stories of the artists who participate in Buenos Aires’ street art scene, from internationally renowned names to local schoolchildren, as well as how the community, local governance, and hospital authorities have participated in this revitalization project that goes much deeper than paint on a wall.
At the conclusion of our Buenos Aires Street Art Tour, participants will have a deeper understanding of the Latin American perspective in art, from its foundations in the 20th century to today’s laissez-faire street art scene. We’ll discuss the alternative histories of Latin America versus European art history and the various meanings of urban art in Buenos Aires and beyond.
NOTE: Included in the cost of this walk is your entrance ticket to MALBA and the taxi from MALBA to the neighborhood of Coghlan.