Buenos Aires is a city ripe for culture vultures, and there are plenty of established museums capable of competing with their international peers. However, there is also a thriving underground scene for art lovers. We check out some of the best lesser-known art galleries and art spaces.
UNION is the gallery from the team behind graffitimundo, who have been championing the street art scene for nearly 10 years now. As well as running street art tours and making documentaries about the local urban art culture, graffitimundo also run their own gallery and workshop space. You can find lots of affordable prints and original artworks by some of the city’s most renowned urban artists, as well as lesser-known local artists. Take one of their stencil workshops and do some artwork of your own.
Run by the legendary HIC crew, Hollywood in Cambodia is one of Buenos Aires’ oldest underground art spaces, so off the radar that you might not even realize it’s there. Located at the back of a bar covered in stencils and graffiti, HIC is an artist-run space where you can find a wide selection of reasonably priced artworks by some of Buenos Aires’ most unique characters, from tattoo artists to punk musicians and graffiti writers.
This quaint art shop in San Telmo offers a great selection across the board from visual artists, illustrators, graphic designers and collage artists. Most of the works are small to medium format, so perfect for your suitcase if you’re traveling. They also have some cute stationary if you want to pick up a notebook or diary. Their stock changes all the time, so you will never get bored of what’s on offer.
This tiny cultural center on a lane in Palermo is one of the city’s most recent additions to the underground art scene. Offering an eclectic selection of art shows by young and emerging artists, POMO is also a music and performance venue, showcasing a range of talent from jazz quartets to international DJs. Be sure to check their Facebook page to see who is exhibiting or performing so you can tell the guy on the door who you have come to see.
Perhaps the most ‘overground’ of all these underground spaces, Elsi Del Rio is a gallery in Palermo Hollywood that showcases work by some of Argentina’s youngest and best artists, but acts as a sort of bridge space for artists who are crossing over into contemporary art from more diverse artistic genres. Working with a host of young curators, Elsi Del Rio is a place where you can see the best up and coming artists from the city.
This artist-run space in Tigre is emblematic of the lazy delta vibe. The artists who inhabit the ground floor studio can be found grilling on the patio in front of the gallery on the upper floor, and locals will come with their kids to hang out on the steps, creating a familiar and inviting atmosphere. Upstairs there’s everything from prints and original artworks to books and magazines. Spend the day walking around Tigre and check out the other charming shops and cafes that abound in this waterside oasis.
Located in a pretty space in Palermo Soho, MODOS is both an event space and art gallery, putting on art exhibitions as well as experimental music nights on Friday evenings. With a small bar, MODOS is a space run by friends who like to create an atmosphere of conviviality and fun and, if you’re lucky, the events sometimes turn into early dance parties (for Buenos Aires at least) which finish up at about midnight when the gallery closes.