Lima, one of the most fascinating and challenging cities in South America, reveals its complexity in the incredible number of museums and art galleries spread around the metropolis, all of which display the rich and diverse facets of Peruvian culture. This cosmopolitan city offers its visitors the chance to explore neighborhoods and attractions with distinct cultures and histories. Here we follow Peru’s buzzing art scene and explore Lima’s best contemporary art galleries.
MAC presents a collection of national and international contemporary art dating from 1950 onwards. Founded in 2013, it is the only museum in Lima specializing in the dissemination of the art of this period, and whose modern facilities have been designed specifically for this purpose. As a private nonprofit institution, MAC devotes its efforts to promoting the visual arts to the public community, with a particular emphasis on the promotion of contemporary culture. The collection includes works by mostly Latin American and European artists and covers optical art, abstract expressionism, constructivism, conceptual art, geometric art, as well as works influenced by surrealism and pop art.
A magnificent two-story casona in the traditional district of Barranco is home to Lima’s most prestigious contemporary art gallery. Since its foundation in 1995, Lucia de la Puente Gallery has been promoting Peruvian artists with established careers, managing the work of the most important artists in the field and encouraging collaboration with young talents in order to ensure that new trends in the visual arts reach an ever-growing audience. The gallery, whose surface area exceeds 700 square meters, has several exhibition areas including a photography room and a project room. Look out for works by cutting-edge painters such as Fernando Gutiérrez, whose canvases often skewer Peruvian culture.
With the world’s largest collection of Mario Testino’s photographs, the Asociación Mario Testino (MATE) is the only cultural institution in the world dedicated to the permanent exhibition of the work of this prominent Peruvian artist. After 35 years living abroad, it was Testino’s personal desire to bring the largest collection of his work to Lima, his hometown, as a contribution to the cultural heritage of Peru. A non-profit organization with an international outreach, MATE quickly became a new referent of Lima’s artistic landscape. The gallery delights even with its location: its headquarters are nestled in a 19th-century Republican townhouse renowned for its great cultural tradition and architectural beauty.
LiMAC serves as an introduction to contemporary art and local production. With its collection of more than 2,000 periodically exhibited works, LiMAC is a space conceived with a view to giving its visitors a general but close vision of the artistic projects that in one way or another emerge in and influence Lima. The museum fosters encounters between artists, curators, critics and spectators, as it is their presence that makes the museum a living center of artistic production. One of the museum’s main interests is the revision of works completed during the last 40 years as the basis for comprehending more recent works. LiMAC travels around the country and appears in different cities in an attempt to establish friction between fact and fiction.
Due to its nature as a true false museum, LiMAC has no permanent address.
Like a ‘safe for memories’ the Museum of Art is a place to preserve academic knowledge, a space where the society can discover its cultural past, a medium of inspiration for cultural innovation and a fertile sphere for the creation of a living culture. The Lima Art Museum holds over 3,000 years of Peruvian art within its walls. A large selection of pre-Columbian textiles and ceramics, pictures and furniture from Colonial and Republican times crosses paths with a number of paintings and photographic works from modern times.
Located in the old and traditional district of Barranco, the Museum Pedro de Osma has one of the best painting collections in Peru with pieces dating back to the 16th century. The paintings from well-known artists are on linen cloth, metal, wood, glass and leather. Antique pieces of furniture, silver, sculptures and textiles complete the collection. Don Pedro de Osma Gildemeister laid the foundation of the Museum Pedro de Osma with his personal collection, which includes religious images, portraits and scenery from Peru (Cuzco, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Trujillo and others).
Enlance Contemporary Art is an exhibition space that promotes Peruvian and Latin American visual arts through a dynamic plan of exhibitions and actions on its premises. The beautiful gallery is also a working space: guests will probably stumble upon people sorting and categorizing works in the store rooms, and, rather charmingly, in some of the rooms it can be hard to tell if the display is still being set up or not. Enlance is home to a unique selection of artists with diverse backgrounds. Among others, it has exhibited Peruvian artists Christian Bendayán, Jorge Cabieses, José Luis Carranza and Gerardo Chávez. A space dedicated to the exhibition and diffusion of Peruvian and Latin American contemporary art, Vertice was opened by Rosario Orjeda in 2007. The gallery is renowned for its strong curatorial line and insightful dissemination of the new visual discourses of contemporary art in Peru and Latin America. A coherent program of exhibitions, systematic participation in international fairs and events, and the commercial circulation of works make it an all-round success. The exhibition schedule stands out for its clearly global outlook and ambition, but also for its open approach to themes with cultural specificity. Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened the Inca Garcilaso Cultural Center in the old Aspillaga house in 2005, which made it the first Foreign Office in Latin America to have its own cultural center. According to the Plan of Cultural Politics of Peru abroad, the Center Inca Garcilaso promotes the values of Peruvian culture and welcomes artistic manifestations of all genres. A space of confluence open to Peru’s diversity and creative expression, the Centro is led by a professional team. Jr. Ucayali 391, Lima 1, Peru, +51 1204 2658