How to be an artist in Argentina or more specifically in its capital Buenos Aires? The following articles attempt to sketch a picture of a very varied developing reality, one that must take into account the historical development of this country.

Let’s consider its recent past: the country was under a bloody dictatorship from 1976-1983, that took the lives of around 33,000 ordinary citizens, or perceived ‘dissenters’, whose bodies were never found (desaparecidos).  It is hard to imagine the psychological toll of such genocide on its population, but it is perhaps easier to imagine the levels of cultural censorship that the country would have been subject to; this is the context for the contribution by Graciela Taquini describing the relatively recent introduction of video art in Argentina. Even more recently, the country was subject to a harrowing economic crisis that led onto defaulting with the IMF; I translate an abridged version of an article that reflects on the crisis ten years later from the perspective of how it impacted on the modes of art production.

Art education is patchy in the sense that art degrees can be extremely lengthy and their programmes fairly traditional; people use their initiative more by organising ‘clinics’ with established artists, which effectively work as groups where joint critiques of ongoing works take place. The art market is very much still commodity oriented, favouring traditional mediums rather than video, photography and installation, but changes are taking place. Nora Fish is a gallerist with a slightly different outlook, and Marina Reyes embarks on a non-commercial project space called La Ene. Matilda Llambi takes us through MALBA the Museum for Latinamerican art that has just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

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  • Faena Arts Center
    Aimé Paine 1169, Faena Art District. Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires Argentina (1137).
    4010 9233

    Faena Arts Center supports the work of internationally recognised artists and curators.  They also administer a yearly international arts prize in the region of US$25,000.

This article is from the Artlaw Archive of Henry Lydiate's columns published in Art Monthly since 1976, and may contain out of date material.
The article is for information only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.
Readers should consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific matters. Artists can get free online legal information from Artquest.