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By Galio [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The fabulous Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA) is one of the cornerstones of the city's cultural life. Its centerpiece is businessman and founder Eduardo Constantini's collection of more than 220 works of 19th- and 20th-century Latin American art in the main first-floor gallery.
Europe vs. Latin America. Early works in the permanent collection reflect the European avant-garde experiences of artists such as Diego Rivera, Xul Solar, Roberto Matta, and Joaquín Torres García. These, in turn, gave rise to paintings like Abaporu (1928) by Tarsila do Amaral, a Brazilian involved in the "cannibalistic" Movimento Antropofágico (rather than eating white Europeans, proponents of the movement proposed devouring European culture and digesting it into something new). Geometric paintings and sculptures from the 1940s represent movements such as Arte Concreto, Constructivism, and Arte Madí.
Argentine Art. Argentina's undisputed modern master
is Antonio Berni, represented by a poptastic collage called The Great Temptation (1962) and the bizarre sculpture Voracity or Ramona's Nightmare (1964): both feature the eccentric prostitute Ramona, a character Berni created in this series of works criticizing consumer society. Pieces by local greats Liliana Porter, Marta Minujín, Guillermo Kuitca, and Alejandro Kuropatwa form the end of the permanent collection.
Temporary Exhibitions. World-class temporary exhibitions are held on the second floor two or three times a year, and two small basement galleries show art by cutting-edge Argentines.
Tips and Trivia
MALBA also has a great art cinema showing restored copies of classics, never-released features, and silent films with live music, as well as local films of note.
Kids love hands-on kinetic works like Julio Le Parc's Seven Unexpected Movements, a sculpture with gleaming parts that move at the press of a button.
Leave time to browse the art books and funky design objects in the museum's excellent gift shop.
Young, enthusiastic guides give great tours of the permanent collection in Spanish on Wednesdays and Sundays at 4 pm.
Give your feet—and eyes—a rest on the first-floor sculpture deck, with views over Belgrano and Barrio Norte.
Córdoba-based studio AFT Arquitectos' triangular construction in creamy stone and steel is one of the museum's draws. The main galleries run along a four-story atrium, flooded in natural light from a wall of windows.