Buenos Aires: In search of Street Art

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There is a terrific amount of street art on display in Buenos Aires. Graffiti, though not ‘legal’, is rarely (never?) prosecuted and this has cultivated a thriving network, where artists from around the world come to paint.

It has led to some stunning pieces. When you’re not worrying about imminent arrest you have the time to create something amazing.

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Many artists are hired by residents to paint walls. There is no need for city authorisation for an artwork and so local residents often commission artists to paint their walls. Commissioning an artwork for your wall is a good way to cover over tagging and keep future taggers away (since there is a kind of honour amongst graffiti-ists not to cover over each others work).

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A wall painted by Australian graffiti artist Fintan Magee

Ok, purists may argue that’s not technically ‘street art’, but it does create a stunning open air gallery as you walk around the city, keeping art free (as it should be) and available for all to appreciate, not merely an elitist interest locked away in a gallery.

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On the tour I took we travelled to the barrios of Coghlan and Villa Urquiza to look at various examples there. These areas, now gentrified, have a long history of street art.

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A huge mural close to Coghlan station.  In the 1980s a lot of homes in the area were compulsory purchased, in order to build a new superhighway.  The road never got built and the area was left with a lot of old abandoned buildings, a great breeding ground for the emerging graffiti artists. 

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Some art is ‘legal’ (i.e. done with the permission of the owner) and some ‘illegal’ (no permission obtained).  It’s impossible to tell the difference.

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The walking tour I took was with Buenos Aires Street art and Graffiti,  costs US$20

 

 

7 replies »

  1. the quality of this art work is phenomenal – hard to imagine how hours/days these creations would take. You certainly do bring us into your travel world! THANKS!

  2. Hi Sarah. Wow this is not Leake Street Tunnel is it? I love the art and wish I could be there taking some photos. It looks amazing. I like the idea that people pay the artists to paint on their property. They really are works of art. I am going to Berlin the end of January and looking forward to seeking out the street art there. Alas, there will not be the beautiful blue skies you are currently enjoying.

    Safe travels my friend xx

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