One of the city’s best museums, the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), is housed in a modern, glass-fronted, purpose-built building that is an attraction in its own right, its airy, spacious galleries contrasting with the dark nooks and crannies of the city’s more traditional art museums.
The permanent Constantini collection, on the first floor up, concentrates on the best Latin American art of the twentieth century. It is arranged chronologically, beginning around 1910, when the Modernist movement in Latin America heralded the start of a real sense of regional identity. This is exemplified in paintings such as a series by Argentine master Xul Solar, a Frida Kahlo self-portrait and Brazilian Tarsila do Amaral’s Mexican-influenced Abaporu. Dark political undercurrents run through the 1930s to 1950s and the work of Antonio Berni and the Chilean Roberto Matta, while Catholic traditions are given a Surrealist twist in Remedios Varo’s votive box Icono. Things get more conceptual from the 1960s on, with the moving installations of Julio Le Parc and the LSD-splashed “end of art” collages by the “Nueva Figuración” movement.
Upstairs, temporary exhibitions generally feature the collected works of a prominent modern or contemporary artist, often an Argentine. MALBA also has its own small art-house cinema, a café, a bookstore and a fun gift-shop.