Medellin has been famous for many things over the years – many of them, sadly, negative – but was never especially well known for its art scene – until now, that is. The City of Eternal Spring has a burgeoning art scene nowadays, and has even been called the next major art destination. So here are the very best of Medellin’s art galleries to visit on your next trip.
The fantastic Medellin Modern Art Museum is one of the cornerstones of the Medellin art scene. It’s located in a former smelting plant in Ciudad del Rio neighbourhood, alongside the popular El Poblado. MAMM stands out from many other galleries for its willingness to embrace diverse art forms and to showcase contemporary artists from the Medellin scene. Having hosted several sound-based exhibitions, as well as regular installations and even DJ nights, MAMM is easily the best contemporary gallery in the city. The museum also houses work by top Colombian artists Débora Arango and Antonio Caro.
The Antioquia Museum is not just a gallery space – it also houses many beautiful exhibits of contemporary Antioquian historical items – but its large Fernando Botero exhibits places it firmly on this list. Botero, Medellin’s most famous artist, has hundreds of pieces on display in this museum, and aficionados of his work can also walk outside the museum to the adjacent Botero Square to enjoy more than 10 of his large sculptures.
The Blue House is indicative of new, modern ways of consuming art and culture, particularly among Medellin’s youth: a hybrid space that combines a design store, gallery space, coffee shop, and showroom, The Blue House integrates art into its unique furniture, installations, and products, all of which are created by local artists. It also offers gallery space to up-and-coming Medellin creatives, giving the entire place a truly creative vibe that is a joy to experience.
Not so much an art gallery as a living, breathing urban gallery, Comuna 13 is becoming globally renowned for its wonderful street-art scene. Wandering the once no-go streets of this poor community, visitors are instantly struck by the sheer diversity and talent on display on the walls of the neighborhood. With plenty of murals given over to images of protest, Colombia’s native flora and fauna, and indigenous people, Comuna 13 is like an outdoor gallery/educational space. There are even graffiti tours of the Comuna, giving you the chance to experience this “gallery” with real experts.
How can a hotel also be an art gallery? If you’ve ever pondered this eternal question, then you clearly haven’t stayed at the Charlee Hotel in Medellin! Once described by Fodors as, “like living in a work of art,” this stunning and innovative hotel is the ideal place to stay if you are an art lover in Medellin. Its facade and much of its interior were designed by local artists and muralists, and the lobby and salon function as a rotating gallery and exhibition space to local artists.
Since 1986, the Duque Arango Gallery has been exhibiting the best of both Colombian and international modern and contemporary art, having featured exhibits by such Colombian luminaries as Ricardo Gómez Campuzano, Francisco Antonio Cano, Jesús Maria Zamora, Gonzalo Ariza, and Andres de Santamaría. With regular new exhibits coming to the gallery, there’s always something to look forward to.