We could consider the beginning of Argentine contemporary art during the decade of 1960s. The artistic movements were witnessing at that time a series of transformations linked to the search for new practices. Coinciding with similar experiences at the international level. The Center of Visual Arts of the Di Tella Institute was a place where this change was promoted.
The beginning of Argentine contemporary art
It was during the sixties that a very young Marta Minujín carried out her settings and happenings. In 1962 Antonio Berni was the first Argentinean honored at the Venice Biennale. With the International Grand Prize for Printmaking, for his collages and woodcuts. Within Argentine contemporary art, we can include a great number of artists who started in the ’60s. Such as Julio Le Parc, Luis Felipe Noé, León Ferrari, Lucio Fontana, Liliana Porter, Victor Grippo, Margarita Paksa, Alejandro Puente among others.
The cultural environment suffered between 1976 and 1983 the repression and censorship of the last Argentinean military dictatorship. But in the ’80s there was a revaluation of painting at a global level and Argentina was not an exception in this new wave of art. Names of prominent artists such as Marcos Lopez, Guillermo Kuitca, Alfredo Prior, Claudia Fontes, and many more burst in.
The last three decades
During the 1990s some institutions allowed these opportunities to extend beyond the city of Buenos Aires. The Fondo Nacional de las Artes and the Fundación Antorchas were able to reach artists in the vast territory of Argentina. During these years the works of Pablo Siquier, Jorge Macchi, Nicola Costantino, Sebastián Gordín, Fabio Kacero, among others, entered the scene.
In the last two decades, have emerged institutions such as the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA), Fundación Proa, the Borges Cultural Center, etc. The new millennium brought a large community of talented artists. The more relevant are Leandro Erlich, Tomás Saraceno, Nicola Constantino, Marcos López, Adriana Minoliti, Nahuel Vecino, Sol Pipkin, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Matías Duville and many more.
Trending Argentine contemporary artistis
Contemporary art in Argentina is currently represented by a wide range of proposals. These use different materials, formats, and technologies with great creative freedom. There are proposals that work within the political, economic, social, or cultural context of the country. But others dive beyond these concepts. There is a remarkable intelligence, energy, and freedom in Argentine contemporary art. Their works, full of personal touches, allow us to know the virtues, challenges, and problems of this time. Let’s talk about some of them.
Leandro Erlich is an Argentinean conceptual artist born in 1973 in Buenos Aires. In 2008 Erlich created a pool installation presented at MoMA PS1 in the Long Island City section of Queens, New York. He lived and worked in Paris for a few years, and then returned to Buenos Aires.
Swimming Pool is one of his most popular works, an immersive architectural environment. After exhibited at MoMA PS1 It was on permanent display in Kanazawa, Japan as part of the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art of the 21st Century.
Erlich has participated in many group exhibitions and art biennials, such as the 1st Mercosur Biennial (1997), the 7th Havana Biennial (2000), the 3rd Shanghai Biennial (2002), the 51st Venice Biennial (2005). Also at the Fundación PROA, Buenos Aires (2009, 2013), Georges Pompidou Center, Paris (2011), Maison Rouge, Paris (2015), etc.
Tomás Saraceno was born in 1973 in San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina. He usually links art, social sciences, and life sciences in his work. Tomás has worked with floating sculptures, community projects, and interactive installations. He explores new ways of inhabiting and feeling the environment.
The Aero Solar Museum is an international open-source community, initiated in 2008 by Tomás Saraceno in conversation with Alberto Pesavento. This community has decided to unite under a common name and cause. And in the last ten years, the Aero Solar Museum has already landed in more than 21 sites thanks to many supporters and communication.
The community organizes events around the world to turn plastic bags into lighter-than-air sculptures. It takes back and transforms a pollutant by sending a message of sustainability, creating flying museums. The collection included more than 20,000 plastic bags selected from countries such as Cuba, Colombia, Palestine, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, among others.
Nicola Costantino was a girl with great scientific and technical interests. She was born on November 17, 1964, into a family of Italian origin in Rosario, Argentina. Nicola enrolled in the School of Fine Arts at the National University of Rosario when she finished high school. She spent 1995 at the Houston School of Art, as part of an exchange program, where she began experimenting with silicone replication of human skin for the manufacture of costumes and dresses.
In 2004 she had a solo exhibition at Ruth Benzacar’s gallery in Buenos Aires called “Animal Motion Planet”. This exhibition presented a series of orthopedic machines that reproduced the movements of small calves and foals. Unfinished Rhapsody of 2013 was selected to represent Argentina at the 55th Venice Biennale. Four installations that portray Eva Perón, for the first time, in the language of contemporary art.
Nicola has received different awards such as Sculpture, Konex Foundation (2002), the Prize to the Argentinean Artist in the II Biennial of Art of Buenos Aires (2002) and the Grand Prize of Honor of the National Salon, specialty in Photography, among others.
Marcos López (Santa Fe, 1958) has represented Argentina in different international biennials such as the 1st Photoquai Biennial of Images of the World in Paris, France. He has a prominent position in the international scene of the visual arts and is one of the most renowned Argentinean visual artists.
In 2001, he made his version of The Last Supper “El asado mendiolaza”. This photograph shows a typical Argentinean asado. As it was presented just before the crisis that the country suffered in 2001, it produced comments such as “it was an omen, it was the last Argentinean asado”. “El asado mendiolaza” is currently on display at the Enrique Larreta Museum of Spanish Art.
López was awarded numerous prizes and acknowledgments, such as the Pilar Citoler International Photography Prize (2008) or the Platinum Konex for trajectory (2012). He has had several individual and group exhibitions in several countries in South America, Europe, and North America. He also published books such as Pop Latino (2000), Sub-realismo Criollo (2003), Retratos (1993 and reissued in 2006), El Jugador (2007), Pop Latino Plus (2007) and Marcos López Fotografías 1978 – 2010 (2010).
In her works, Adriana Minoliti uses painting, prints, design, video, and installation art. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 21, 1980, Minoliti is a visual artist focused on digital culture. Her pieces are described as “imagining a transhuman utopia in which the theories of gender can be applied to pictorial language”. Within her work, stand out themes such as the human body, gender issues, mixing eroticism, and geometry.
Minoliti became interested in the modern tradition of painting at a very young age. She graduated from the National School of Fine Arts Prilidiano Pueyrredón in Buenos Aires. She then studied for several years with Diana Aisenberg, and then took workshops with Miguel Harte in resin sculpture.
In 2005, she had his first individual exhibition at the Ruth Benzacar Gallery. She was the winner of the Curriculum 0 competition in 2004. She also conducted seminars with Julia Masvernat, Rodrigo Alonso, and Eva Grinstein among others.