Buenos Aires is on the coast, but it is not really a beach city. Instead there is something called “the fake beach” and then also people just like to chill on the grass at parks when the sun isn’t deathly blazing.
My freshman year at Rice I took at life changing art history class, “Latin American Art and Politics.” This class exposed me to a world of art that most people know little about (see Joaquín Torres-García’s manifesto with “Our North is the South“) and it also taught me that art can never be isolated from politics, which in turn gives it great power. I discovered great artists like Guillermo Kuitca, Luis Camnitzer, Hélio Oiticica, Wifredo Lam, Coco Fusco, Alfredo Jaar, Jesús Rafael Soto…. the list goes on and on. Here are a few of the many works I saw at the MALBA, the contemporary museum in Buenos Aires.
Tarsila do Amara– Abaporu
Like Joaquín Torres-García, Abaporu (the man that eats people), is a political work. It is one of the most important (and now highly valued) works in Latin American art. A gift for Andrade, it is partially inspiration for his Anthropophagite Manifesto, which calls for the creation of a new style and culture for Brazil, instead of the imitation (or “canibalism”) of Europe.
Lygia Clarke– Bicho
Lygia Clarke is a genius. I don’t know if there is much more to say. She was one of the first people to make sculpture a sensory experience that goes beyond just utilizing sight. The series “nostalgia of the body” involved the activation of the work by the body- something extremely significant in the history of sculpture. Her earlier works like the one below are also amazing- never static and completely dependent to how the holder wishes to display them.
Francis Alÿs- exhibition: A Story of Negotiation
I have always greatly admired Alÿs for making, Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing, and also notable is “Fabiola,” “When Faith Move Mountains,” and “Green Line.” His solo exhibition at the MALBA showed a different side of his work and especially spoke to me after spending time Egypt, because his work is a reflection from travel to the middle east/ arabic speaking countries like Morocco and Afghanistan.
And finally the green tarp fabric that I admire and marvel at has a new purpose in this city. It is used to protect cars in lots from the beating sun/ leaves/ bird poo. But I think that this new display also achieves beauty with the light from the sun.