After an extended summer hiatus, Gallery Days has made a triumphant return. The perfect excuse to while away a few art-filled hours on a Saturday afternoon, each event takes place in a different barrio across the city. Typically concentrated in the most gallery-dense regions of the capital, previous editions have included circuits around Recoleta and Retiro as well as Palermo and Villa Crespo. With the third installment of this year’s eleven scheduled days having taken place last Saturday in La Boca and San Telmo, we take a look at the highlights.
What can you expect during a gallery day? A self-guided tour that you’re free to dip in and out of; digital maps are provided and you’re sent on your merry way to explore all of the participating galleries, which this time around totaled 25. Similar in concept to an open-air art treasure hunt, all day and into the early evening you’re able to explore hidden creative gems and discover those secret corners of the city that usually go unseen during the busy struggle of the work week. The tour is easy enough to do solo but would make for an ideal, easy-going day date, or a chance to catch up with all your other art-loving friends.
The initiative was first started back in 2001 by digital magazine Arte Online and now counts over 80 citywide participating spaces. If you feel you’ve been and done the major hits of MALBA, MACBA, and Bellas Artes, it’s time to hit the deep cuts and really dive into Buenos Aires’ thriving contemporary art scene.
As an upcoming area for the creative arts, La Boca and the southern edges of San Telmo, increasingly known as the Distrito de Las Artes is the perfect barrio for an open-door gallery event. If you are keen to fully explore the spaces on offer, several guided tour routes are provided sporadically throughout the afternoon so you can be sure not be missing out on any of the artsy activities. Best of all, the tours are free and don’t require a reservation.
Highlights included in the recent edition were cultural space-cum-gallery El Más Acá Club. Based in a beautifully restored 20th century Italian designed building on one of San Telmo’s prettiest boulevards, this project is all about bringing the latest creative installations to life in some pretty spectacular settings. If you’re looking to participate in their cultural scene in a more interactive way, apart from gallery days, their many workshops including those on digital photography and expressive movement are worth checking out.
Granada Tienda is also worth a mention. As the second offshoot from their original space located in Palermo Hollywood, its new San Telmo space is for those looking to affordably furnish their homes with reasonably priced and locally created artworks. Visually pleasing even just for a browse, the shop is a cozy retreat from the hustle and bustle of the outside.
A chance to see some galleries that are off the mainstream beaten track and that may not usually reach your art radar, Gallery Days equally represents the big guns as well. If you’re keen to dig a little deeper into the major public exhibitions, art historians are on hand to give you a drop-in tour of current exhibits.
Winding up at the MAMBA, the tour gave the opportunity to see both the museum’s epic retrospectives of Argentine photographers Aldo Sessa and Alberto Goldstein. A chance to explore the provenance of the photos, it’s ideal if you’re a self-confessed art nerd who often finds themselves dissatisfied with those brief one-line museum descriptions and are frequently intrigued by what it all really means.
Heading further south, located in front of La Boca cultural center Usina del Arte, is the urbanely camouflaged Paseo de Las Artes. Built in under what can only be described as a concrete eyesore of a flyover, the urban art gallery is a clever use of space, which provides an escape from the surrounding grit of the city. Concentrating on 20th century art that was produced by artists like Quinquela Martín and Lácamera in and around La Boca, the space is a nod to the barrio’s creative beginnings.
Not to be missed is a detour through Usina del Arte to see Nicola Constantino’s 360-degree mural installation, Pardés. An immersion experience, the idea is that the visitor finds herself in a sort of forest-like Eden paradise. Featuring giant orchids, and a specially created realistic forest backdrop, this might be just the room to escape to for all you city dwellers who can’t bear to leave the capital for even a moment.
Just a few paces beyond la Usina, Gallery Barro, known for showcasing Argentina’s most esteemed contemporary artists, present artist Joaquín Boz’s most recent exposé into trees and their unspoken rules of personal space. The artist explores how trees naturally share their space, although it is expected in the laws of nature for tree roots to compete for water, it remains unclear why they don’t. Perhaps an idea Boz is keen for humanity to consider, the artist has created a dream-like abstract sequence of tree roots in their natural habitat.
Once you’re well and truly ‘arted’ out, the whole afternoon culminates in live music and drinks at one of the larger gallery spaces. This time taking place in MUNAR, indie artist Lola Manillo played an hour-long set while audience members sipped a few beers, and toasted to an art-filled afternoon.
If you missed out on this edition of Gallery Days, don’t stress, there are still eight more dartes set to take place during 2018. Although the exact dates are not yet confirmed, keep on top of their artsy happenings and head to their website, visit their Facebook page or follow their Instagram.
If you can’t bear the thought of waiting until the next edition, head to Distrito de Las Artes’ Instagram for all the recent art news on the area.