Best of buenos aires, Argentina
Stunning street art
Buenos Aires took us by surprise! We had visited once before, just for a day, on a South American cruise and we had had a pleasant day, but it wasn't a place we came away from saying, "That was great! We MUST come back again!"
But we are so glad we did go back! Such a fascinating and interesting city, with its strong European flair mixed with the Latin American vibe.
The more we wandered about, the more we loved it! It's now right up the top of our "Favourite Cities in the World" list.
AND WHY DID WE LOVE BUENOS AIRES SO MUCH?
Firstly, for the street art.
We would just be wandering around and all of a sudden, out of the corner of our eye, we would spot an amazing painting up high on a building, or a mural on a wall as we walked by, or out of the bus window, or hanging from the ceiling of a subway station like the slices of David's face sculpture below. It always took us by surprise. It was like living in an open-air art gallery.
This sculpture is called "David fragmentandose" and was created by Marta Minujin. It hangs from the ceiling in the new Retiro subway station and is stunning! Apparently, Marta designed it to 'reflect the fragmentation and lack of continuity of the Argentinian people.'
We took a photo of this magnificent painting from the bus as we were driving to La Boca. We would have no idea where to find it again and would love to know more about it.
WHEN DID THE STREET ART BECOME POPULAR?
Apparently, street art began in the 1950s promoting political parties, but all street art ceased from 1976 to 1983 during the military dictatorship under which 30,000 people "disappeared."This was followed from 1998 to 2002 by the devastating financial crisis when the government froze bank accounts and many people became unemployed. During these periods of time, many buildings were abandoned or deserted. In the early 2000s, the abundance of empty buildings provided a multitude of blank canvases for street artists to create colorful designs to brighten up the lives of the badly affected and unemployed people of Buenos Aires and some emphasized political themes and propaganda.
Street Art is not an illegal activity.
Unlike in cities like New York and London, street art is not an illegal activity so artists can take their time in creating their artwork or murals. Generally, all that artists require is the consent of the building owner, who is often quite keen to have his wall painted, as, depending on the quality of the art work, it can make the building a landmark. Also, the building owner is responsible for removing any graffitti type tagging and a painted mural will prevent this.
STREET ART DISTRICTS
Although we just aimlessly wandered around enjoying the artwork we stumbled across, there are now many very popular organized tours and walks available for Buenos Aires street art. Some of the most popular areas are Palermo, La Boca, Colegiales, Villa Urquiza and Coghlan.
There are also International Art Festivals and Street Art Festivals that attract local and international artists. "Buenos Aires Street Art" has been responsible for sponsoring numerous mural projects in the Villa Urquiza and Coghlan and there are now 50 plus murals in the area by international and local street artists,
What is Floralis Generica?
It's not actually street art but the 'Floralis Generica' is an intriguing gigantic metallic flower sculpture that opens and closes daily! It was gifted to Buenos Aries by the Argentinian architect Eduardo Catalano in 2002. He said that it represents-
"hope reborn every day at opening."
When it is closed it is 75 feet tall and 52 feet wide, and when opened it measures 105 feet tall. It weighs 24 tons. It has six 13 meter long petals that open at about 8.00 am each day and closes at sunset. At night the petals glow red. It is indeed a very impressive sight.