Argentina travel guide: Exploring the art scene in Buenos Aires
Often referred to as the “Paris of the Americas,” Buenos Aires boasts an eclectic mix of European and South American influences that make it a must-see on any trip to Argentina. This extraordinary blend of cultures, flavors, and people is especially reflected in the diverse art scene of Buenos Aires: the city is arguably home to the continent’s best museums and holds hidden treasures sure to enrapture even most discerning art afficionados.
Museum of Fine Arts
Among the city’s many museums, two deserve special mention and should be incorporated into any trip to Buenos Aires. Perhaps the most complete and well-maintained is the famous Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) located in the upscale district of Recoleta on Avenida Libertador. Here you’ll find permanent classic art displays as well as temporary exhibitions from modern Latin American artists. If contemporary art is your guilty pleasure, make sure to pay a visit to the Museo de Arte LatinoAmericana de Buenos Aires (MALBA).
Only true Porteños – inhabitants of Buenos Aires – know about the city’s real artistic treasures, which can be found virtually on every corner. What may seem like vandalism to many is actually Buenos Aires’ most extraordinary and creative form of artistic expression: graffiti. Convince a friendly local to show you around, or take a Buenos Aires walking art tour to see the most impressive of these ephemeral masterpieces.
San Telmo, Buenos Aires’ oldest district, is teeming with such works of art and is a pleasure to explore—you never know what you’re going to stumble upon. Make sure to stop at the Art Factory Hostel, which houses the city’s largest permanent exhibition of graffiti and mural art.
Buenos Aires is home to a spectacular number of smaller art galleries, many of which deserve a stop, if only for a peep. Most of them can be found in the district of San Telmo or Palermo. Among the most alternative and acclaimed galleries is Mar Dulce, brand new and boasting a well-stocked library of art books. Another top choice is Wallrod, which is off the beaten path and probably one of the most happening galleries in Buenos Aires. Once a month most venues stay open late and put on shows for Gallery Night.
Internationally recognized as a world capital for arts, Buenos Aires annually holds an International Art Fair, known as Arte BA, where artists from around the world gather to share their work and set new art trends. This year, the fair will take place from Thursday, May 19 to Monday, May 23 everyday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Over 70 art galleries throughout the city will be participating in the event and will display works from selected artists. The trendy and bohemian barrio Joven Chandon will host the fair.