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The art scene in Buenos Aires is certainly thriving, and the amount of museum and gallery options you have is pretty astounding. Here’s your guide to the big museums, what they’re good at, and the best times to show up:

El Museo de Bellas Artes  

Probably the most well-known of Buenos Aires’s art museums, the Museo de Bellas Artes boasts Argentina’s largest collection of fine art. Its permanent collection alone includes 688 major works, over 12,000 minor works, and a library with over 150,000 volumes. As host to both international and Argentine art, it covers everything from the middle ages to contemporary pieces. You’ll find artists like Édouard Manet, Henri De Toulouse-Lautrec, Vincent Van Gogh, and Francisco De Goya along with Argentine greats like Antonio Berni, Benito Quinquela Martín and Raquel Forner represented in its labyrinth like hallways. It opened on Christmas day of 1895 on Calle Florida in the very spot where the Galeria Pacifico stands today, and moved to its present location in 1933.

A good reason to go:

Dancers and two yellow roses, Edgar Degas, 1898

Dancers and two yellow roses

How much: Free!

Where: Avenida Del Libertador 1473

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11:30 AM – 7:30 PM

Saturday –Sunday 9:30 AM – 7:30 PM

Food: None onsite. Don’t come hungry.

MALBA:

MALBA stands for the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, and its mission is to collect, preserve, research, and promote Latin American art from the onset of the 20th century to the present. Its over 200 works incorporate painting, sculpture, photography, print, drawing, and installations from contemporary Argentine and Latin American artists like Xul Solar, Diego Rivera, Antonio Berni, Frida Kahlo, and Jorge de la Vega. Inaugurated on September 21, 2001, it is the first private museum in Buenos Aires. MALBA’s distinctive design is the result of the combined efforts of Bienal Internacional de Buenos Aires contest winners Gaston Atelman, Martin Fourcade, and Alfredo Tapia. Created by Argentine Businessman Eduardo Costantini, the museum is quickly becoming a major hub for new expositions.

A good reason to go:

Manifestacion, Antonio Berni, 1934

Manifestacion Berni

How much: General Admission is ARS 90, students and retirees pay just ARS 45

Wednesdays: General Admission ARS 45, students and retirees are free!

Where: Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415

Hours: Thursday – Monday 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Wednesday 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Food: Yes!

MAMBA:

MAMBA is the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (not to be confused with MACBA). It focuses on modern Argentine works, and includes over 7,000 works by artists like Josef Albers, Antonio Berni, Curatella Manes, Raquel Forner, Romulo Macció, Marcelo Pombo, Marta Minujín, Emilio Pettoruti, and Xul Solar. MAMBA opened its doors for the first time on April 11, 1956, in the Buenos Aires Whitcomb gallery. Today it stands in what used to be a Nobleza Piccardo tobacconist in San Telmo. It’s first director, Rafael Squirru, intended it to be a vanguard not only of visual art, but also of photography and design.

A good reason to go:

Esperándote, Federico Peralta Ramos, 1990

Esperandote

How much: General admission ARS 20

Free on Tuesdays

Where: Av. San Juan 350

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Saturday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Food: No luck

MACBA:

MACBA is the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires. It’s fairly new in the Buenos Aires art scene and contains contemporary works from both Argentine and international artists. Specializing in geometric works by artists like Raúl Lozza, Julio Le Parc, Victor Vasarely, its goals include informal education by way of art, and to expand awareness of Argentine art internationally. It was established on September 1st 2012, and has recently taken on the initiative of featuring expositions by female artists curated by women. Pretty cool.

A good reason to go:

Sin título 2 Hasper Graciela, 2001

sin titulo 2

How much: General admission ARS 60, students and retirees ARS 40

Wednesday general admission ARS 40, students and retirees are free!

Where: Avenida San Juan 328

Hours: Monday and Wednesday – Friday 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Saturday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 7:30 PM

Food: No luck

MUNTREF:

MUNTREF stands for the Museo de la Universidad Nacional Tres de Febrero. It is another center for contemporary art, but focuses mostly on two or three major expositions per year along with workshops and special events. Housed in what used to be the famed Hotel for Immigrants, it also opened its doors in 2012. Its currently showing two major exhibitions focusing on Leandro Elrich and Bernardí Roig.

A good reason to go:

Port of Reflections, Leandro Elrich, 2014

port of reflections

How Much: Totally free

Where: Avenida Antártida Argentina 1355

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Food: No luck

Fundación Proa:

Fundación Proa is La Boca’s contemporary art hub. Nestled among the colorful historic buildings of the neighborhood, it creates an interesting juxtaposition of the old and the new. Like the MUNTREF, it doesn’t really have a permanent collection, but rather has four large spaces for rotating exhibitions. One of its most notable was a huge exhibition of Marcel Duchamp in 2008 to celebrate its reopening after an expansion project. Founded in 1996, it aims to celebrate the great artistic movements of the 20th and 21st century. Its current main exhibition is called “VICEVERSA – Vecina, turista, profesional y errante,” and features works by Gian Paolo Minelli, Alejandra Fenochio, Elisa O’Farrell, and Eduardo Molinari.

A good reason to go:

(A.I.A) Agencia de Investigaciones Artísticas, Eduardo Molinari, 2016

AIA

How Much: Free!

Where: Avenida Pedro de Mendoza 1929

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Food: Yes!

BONUS

CC Recoleta:

The Centro Cultural Recoleta is not necessarily a museum, but can certainly hold its own in the visual art category. It houses a rotating collection of contemporary which feature artists like Augusto Zanela, Leila Tschopp, and Carlos Ricci. It is also a major center for concerts, workshops, events, and masterclasses in Recoleta. The building’s roots date back to the early 1700’s and the site has been deemed a national monument.

A good reason to go:

El primer día, Augusto Zanela

primer dia

How Much: Free for most exhibitions

Where: Junín 1930

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 1:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Saturday – Sunday 11:30 AM – 8:30 PM

Food: No luck