Our never-ending hunt for the world’s most vibrant urban scenes takes Hotels G to the southern hemisphere this month, to Buenos Aires where political and economic upheavals inspire artful self-expression played out on public walls across the Argentine capital. This guerrilla scene is matched by architectural landmark museums filled with contemporary, if globally under the radar, Latin American artists. As for souvenirs, our newly found passion for dulce de leche may just mean new frocks from our favourite B.A. designers won’t fit!
To get our B.A. bearings, we follow the experts at Grafittimundo, an impressive local non-profit, into the barrios of Colegiales, Chacarita, Villa Crespo and Palermo. This dizzying mélange of neighbourhoods together chart the evolution of street art in Buenos Aires and these comprehensive English-speaking afternoon tours wind up at Post Bar, home to Hollywood in Cambodia, a pulsating street artist collective.
To balance the spray can art scene with the (somewhat) more traditional, we seek out MAMBA, the city’s modern art museum, which recently revived the 1965 La Menesunda According to Marta Minujin, an ‘experiential’ 11-gallery vertiginous maze by Argentina’s undisputed queen of pop art. Once our heads stop spinning, we continue on through galleries dedicated to indigenous talent like abstract painter Kenneth Kemble and the artful scribbles of Mirtha Dermisache whose works especially intrigue us.
Next we taxi (no Ubers allowed in this town) to the Museum of Latin American Art (MALBA), a starkly modernist structure which holds 200+ reasons to learn more about 20th and 21st century art from across this continent, including significant pieces by Xu Solar, Diego Rivera, Antonio Berni, Frida Kahlo and Fernando Botero.
Armed with a deeper understanding of contemporary Latin American visual culture, we return to the graffiti rich Villa Crespi where Not To Be Understood is newly opened in front of the Atlanta fútbol stadium by Argentina style star Jessica Trosman whom we follow for our South American sartorial inspiration. Housed inside her father’s former car repair shop, Trosman’s destination boutique combines a design studio and textile lab with Yeite. Local celebrity chef Pamela Villar’s eatery is rightly lauded in B.A. foodie blog Pick Up The Fork for its laidback vibe and deceptively simple bites leading up to homemade alfajor, the ubiquitous South American sugar cookie sandwich filled with dulce de leche, the aforementioned edible object of our affection bordering on obsession.
Cover picture credits: Graffitimundo