La PROA

Art Galleries of Buenos Aires: Part 2

This is a continuation from part 1, where we reviewed some galleries in Palermo and Recoleta.

During our six weeks in the Argentine capital, we visited many art galleries. Sometimes our opinions of them agreed, sometimes they diverged. Below, we review each of the galleries we visited (ordered by neighbourhood) and give our two perspectives on them.

La Boca

Museo Quinquela Martín

This unimposing building by the old harbour at the south end of Buenos Aires’ most famous tourist street, El Caminito, is advertised from the outside as Escuela Pedro de Mendoza. The galleries are tucked away upstairs, and there are a series of terraces above them with views over the city.

Sam saysthis may be my favourite art gallery in Buenos Aires. The rooms of art seem to just keep on going, and are all painted in bright, primary colours that complement the works on display wonderfully. The experience of walking around is relaxing and laid back, as there is not much security presence, and no moody old ladies staring at you, making you feel rushed to move on to the next room. I also greatly enjoyed the art itself, mostly oil paintings, all of which is created by Argentinian artists in the last 50-150 years, and was easily comprehensible but also aesthetically pleasing.

Zab saysthe building belies the fascinating story of the artist who founded this school and museum. It was his idea to paint the houses in the area in bright, bold colours, which has made La Boca a tourist attraction. The galleries were full of interesting works, many of which would look fabulous on the walls of our future apartment! I also really liked the temporary exhibition of tango paintings, which were very expressive and made me want to take up the dance myself!

  • Address: Avenida Pedro de Mendoza 1833/35
  • Cost: AR$10
Museo Marín Quinquela

Museo Marín Quinquela

La Proa

In a super modern building with white walls and huge glass windows, this gallery stands out clearly from the somewhat drab surroundings of one of Buenos Aires’ poorest neighbourhoods. Exhibitions are irregular and there is not necessarily always one on; we went three times before there was anything to see.

Sam saysthe layout and architecture of the gallery definitely mark this place as very contemporary, but I found the art not to be too pretentious or esoteric, which I don’t like. It’s a small place with just four rooms, and is easily digestible in 20 or 30 minutes. It wasn’t my favourite place in Buenos Aires, and I think perhaps I enjoyed the upstairs café more than the art, but it was nice enough.

Zab saysthis place had more photography than anywhere else, all of which was by Argentinian artists and I liked very much. The layout was interesting and felt like several mini exhibitions of different artists and somehow slightly kitsch. I also appreciated the use of various recycled materials in several pieces. Like Sam, I enjoyed the café and its views over the harbour opposite, and this may in fact have been the highlight of the gallery!

  • Address: Avenida Pedro de Mendoza 1929
  • Cost: AR$15
La PROA

La PROA

Belgrano

Museo Casa de Yrurtia

Set in the former house of the artist whose work it displays, this little place has a series of rooms packed with sculptures as well as a few paintings and a pleasant courtyard garden.

Sam saysI enjoyed spending half an hour wandering around this house, dodging the classic-style statues and old furniture. The garden is a nice and quiet place to sit for a moment, but I wouldn’t recommend making the trip to Belgrano just to visit this museum, as while it’s quite pleasant, it’s nothing earth-shatteringly magnificent.

Zab saysit was interesting to visit the home of the sculptor who created many of the stunning statues for various monuments around the city and seeing the actual tools that he used to do so. You could imagine how Mr. Yrurtia would have used the nice, partially covered outdoor space to imagine and carve his creations, which gave an air of inspiration to the place.

  • Address: O’Higgins 2390
  • Cost: AR$10
Casa Yrurtia

Casa Yrurtia

Museo de Arte Español Enrique Larreta

Housed in a Spanish colonial building, this museum has a permanent exhibition of 15th and 16th century Spanish decorative art (paintings, sculptures, furniture and nick-nacks) and changing exhibition of modern work.

Sam saysI didn’t care much for the permanent exhibition of mostly religious icons and old furniture all that inspiring, but the modern exhibition (which was photography from the 1980s when we visited) was nice enough and gave me a few giggles. The nicest part of visiting this place, for me, was the garden, which despite being directly behind one of Belgrano’s main roads, was surprisingly calm and relaxing.

Zab saysI found the temporary photography exhibition and large and peaceful garden to be the highlights here. Otherwise, the interior of design and furnishings of the permanent exhibit reminded me of the inside of a mausoleum with its dark and heavy atmosphere.

  • Address: Juramento 2291
  • Cost: AR$2, but free on Thursdays
Enrique Larreta

the gardens at Museo de Arte Español Enrique Larreta

Which galleries have we missed that you’ve visited in Buenos Aires? There were several we didn’t get round to visiting, so if you have any tips or personal experience, please let us know in the comments!