Latin Art & Architecture
Art and architecture have always evolved together in Latin America. From the sculptural reliefs on its Mayan pyramids, to the baroque interiors of Quito's colonial churches, the massive Diego Rivera murals that adorn the walls of Mexico City's buildings, and the modernist buildings in Brazil that blur the line between architecture and sculpture.
After decades of staying on the sidelines of the contemporary art world, Latin American artists are finally at the front and centre stage of many of the world’s top museums and art collectors, and have firmly gained the attention of the global art audience.
Architecturally, the region's ancient structures from its Mayan pyramids, the archaeological wonder of Machu Picchu, its well preserved colonial cities and Brazil's modernist masterpieces have set the foundation for a new breed of talented architects who continue to bridge the gap between art and architecture with their avant-garde structures.
BrazilAfter Mexico, Brazil has had the largest impact on the 20th century art scene in Latin America with artists such as Vik Muniz, Lygia Clari, Antonio Dias, Tarsila do Amaral and Tunga, creating works in different mediums and cementing Brazil as a major art and culture destination. Many of these artists are still producing work today alongside a new generation of young emerging artists such as Rodrigo Torres, Alice Quaresma and Rodrigo Mogiz, all of whom are also starting to gain international attention.
ColombiaAnother famous Latin American artist to capture international fame is Fernando Botero, the Colombian master whose paintings and sculptures of human figures in exaggerated volume can appear both political and comical at the same time. Apart from the Botero Museum in Bogota, his works and sculptures can be found all over Latin America and Europe, as well as in art capitals such as New York City and Singapore.
ArgentinaThe country has produced many notable artists such as Benito Quinquela Martin, whose work defines the La Boca area of Buenos Aires, and Antonio Berni, whose painting “Manifestation” (Demonstration) is one of the most iconic Latin American paintings and is a must-see on any visit to the MALBA museum in Buenos Aires. Recently, Argentina seems to have become the centre of the Latin American contemporary art scene with a lot of Argentinian and continental artists flocking to the capital which is home to an impressive range of museums, galleries and art spaces as well as an increasingly vibrant street art culture.
Finally, for such a small island, Cuba has made an impressive mark on the art scene with artists such as Ana Mendieta and Wilfredo Lam, both female artists who introduced Cuban art to the world. Chile also has a proud tradition of female artists such as political graphic artist Luz Donoso and renowned sculptor Lily Garafulic.
Art galleries and museumsFor art-lovers, there is an eclectic and impressive selection of museum, galleries and art spaces around Latin America. Here is a selection of some of our favourite institutions to explore:
- Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina: home to one of the world’s most extensive permanent collections of Latin American Art featuring groundbreaking artists such as Diego Rivera, Joaquín Torres García and Argentine figurative artist Antonio Berni.
- Intohim Institute, Belo Horizonte, Brazil: nestled in lush gardens, this is one of the finest cultural institutions on the continent, with world-class artworks and visually arresting experimental art installations situated in one of the world’s largest open-air art museums displaying works of artists such as the Brazilian artist Tunga, Yayoi Kusama and Olafur Eliasson.
- Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL), Mexico City, Mexico: houses an impressive display of Mexican art from the 16th to the mid-20th century. The museum is a beautiful Neoclassical building housing pieces by influential muralist Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Jose Clemente Orozco.
- Museo Botero, Bogota, Colombia: celebrates Colombia’s most famous living artist with an impressive collection of his unique paintings of oversized characters and curvaceous sculptures.
- Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), Peru: housed in the impressive 19th-century building of Palacio de la Exposición. This historical landmark stands proudly, boasting an exhaustive collection of pre-Columbian art. MALI showcases the evolution of Peruvian art from its dynamic cultural past and how it continues to influence contemporary art in Lima today.
- Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City, Mexico: La Casa Azul (The Blue House), Kahlo’s childhood home and residence for most of her life. Although this does not house her best and most famous pieces, the museum is interesting as it also contains paintings by her iconic husband, Diego Rivera as well as her personal objects and letters.
Elsewhere on the continent, Uruguay’s unique Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo is an exciting artistic celebration housed in a formerly abandoned jail in Montevideo. And Brazil's Casa Triangulo in Sao Paulo is an incubator for local artists and one of the first Brazilian galleries to invest in international art fairs such as Art Basel Miami Beach, Frieze Art Fair in London and ARCO in Madrid.
Curated art toursWhether you are a serious art collector, someone wanting to purchase that one special piece to remember your trip, or are just interested in learning more about Latin America’s dynamic art scene, we arrange bespoke tours led by specialists guides and art curators. We also arrange special access to local artists’ studios, after-hour private tours of leading galleries and museums, and access to local art dealers and curators who can set up private meetings with specific local artists. Many of Latin America’s top collections are private with restricted access to the public, but through our local connections, we can arrange private viewings of these collections.
• Awasi Patagonia, Torres del Paine, Chile: a spectacular lodge consisting of twelve luxury villas inspired by old Patagonian shelters and ranching outposts, affording spectacular views of the stunning Torres del Paine massif.
• Hotel Emiliano, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: with a facade of intricate, organic panels to welcome as much sunlight as possible, this iconic hotel along Rio’s Copacabana Beach evokes the area’s glamorous past with a nod to Niemeyer’s modernism in a very contemporary manner.
• Titilaka Lodge, Lake Titicaca, Peru: located on a private peninsula on Lake Titicaca, the lodge harmonises perfectly with its surroundings in an inspired, elegant design that maximises exposure to its magnificent lake views.
• Cavas Wine Lodge, Mendoza, Argentina: The lodge's stunning private adobe style villas are surreally dotted throughout a 55-acre vineyard, at the foot of the breathtaking snowcapped Andes mountain range.
• Pikaia Lodge, Santa Cruz, Galápagos Islands: This gorgeous lodge boasts one of the most spectacular locations on Earth. Boasting ocean views on three sides, its rooms are designed like the bridges of ships, with steel beams supporting sloping roofs which act as rain-catchers, giving the lodge the appearance of a watchtower.
Curated private architecture toursFor architects or those with a keen interest in the field, we can arrange city tours with architects or urban historians who can walk and talk you through the city’s architectural highlights with expert knowledge. Mexico City is a must-see, the vibrant metropolis is full of different eras crammed together: futurist Art Deco, classically ornate Colonial and minimalist Mexican modern designs. Perhaps the most famous example of Latin American architecture in recent years is the ambitiously planned, modern Metropolis of Brasilia. From above, the city resembles an aeroplane.
We have a team of specialist local guides and experts and we can sometimes arrange after-hours access to public buildings allowing you a private, intimate experience. We can also arrange special access to private mansions and residences via our local contacts in each destination. We look forward to helping you achieve your architectural dreams.
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