La Fée Culturelle’s art adventures in Argentina

After a beautiful epicurian stay in Mendoza, Mr BB and I went back to Buenos Aires (BsAs) and I made my way to Malba, the LatAm modern art museum of BsAs (the Costantini collection) and the day after, I went to see the Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat’s collection in Puerto Madero. Buenos Aires is very rich culturally and art institutions are keen to show both local and international art. For instance, the Proa foundation (in poorer Boca’s neighbourhood, home to la Bombonera) showed a very complete exhibition of Alberto Giacometti, with most pieces loaned from the Giacometti foundation in France, completed by private and public holdings in Brazil. We went to the opening that was attended by well-heeled locals and also BsAs hipsters! Mr BB described the show as wonderful and I fully agree.

The Malba museum provides a good overview of LatAm art in the 20th century. Its permanent collection takes us through the evolution of the LatAm art in parallel with international art developments (avant-grade, concrete art, minimalism, conceptual art). Mexican artists are well-represented along with artists from Brazil and Argentina. The collection does include some “big names” i.e. LatAm artists who acheived international fame: Diego Rivera, which work presented is influenced by cubism and Fernand Leger; Frida Kahlo’s Self portrait with Monkey and Parrot; and Botero’s The Widowers. Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat’s collection is focused on Argentinian artists but also includes foreign art which I presume is from her own tastes in art rather than logic additions to her collection. She has her “big names” too with individual pieces from Brueghel, Turner, Chagall and her portrait by Andy Warhol.

LatAm artists travelled to Europe to study avant-garde art (expressionism, cubism, futurism) and certain LatAm works of art hold a heavy European influence while others artists have developed their own style. I believe two good examples of the latter are Argentinian artists Alejandro Xul Solar with a personal oniric style and interest for astrology and Antonio Berni, who didn’t follow a particular style but conveyed a political angle to his works – pieces from him I saw included a painting of a demonstration, a surrealist work a la Chirico and collages. In my view, Xul Solar and Berni are key Argentinian artists, as well as Luis Fernando Benedit. If you have time for only one museum in BsAs (or if you are not an art fanatic like la fée culturelle is), I recommend going to the Malba.

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