Institutionalization of Underground Art


“In the last 10 years, street art in Buenos Aires has met with a degree of institutional tolerance that urban art movements in other cities still struggle to find after more than 3 decades. For a traditionally underground and anti-institutional art movement, working with or inside the system poses both challenges and new creative opportunities. 

Each station in the city's Subte system captures a different style of art from a different period on the city's history. At this station, local street artists were invited to collaborate on a large scale mural inside the station. This cast of playful and bizarre characters greet travelers on their daily commute.

Sometimes a local business will commission a mural of their own design, and other times the business is simply happy to be a canvas for the free expression of their artist of choice.  Artist Gualicho exercised full creative freedom here with a colorful and surreal mural featuring Buddha, on the facade of a butcher shop.

Nerf was commissioned to paint the facade of an agency with his trademark 3D cube graffiti.

After developing a close working relationship with the company that supplies scaffolding to the artists, Mart & Corona were commissioned to create a bicycle-inspired mural for a local construction equipment company.

Two artists with a background in graffiti, Poeta and Corona, were chosen to create a mural on the facade of a multinational bank as part of their cultural program.

In advance of The Wall Tour, legendary musician Roger Waters commissioned street artists to paint a series of murals.  Stencil collective BsAsStencil crafted a clever work; a playful exchange between the painting and the wall itself.

Mart plays tricks on the eye with a surreal mural created as part of the Roger Water's The Wall Tour

Cultural spaces are popular places for artists to paint. A group of artists were commissioned to create a temporary, massive mural in the inner courtyard of the Konex.

This highly controversial piece by the Italian artist Blu was also painted during the city sponsored Meeting of Style festival. Italian artist Blu painted a politically charged mural as part of the Meeting of Styles street art festival. Over 140 artists from Argentina and from all over the world were convened to paint in the 3-day event.

Street art festivals provide access to materials and equipment that few if any artists could aquire for personal projects. The artist Aryz spend hours up on an electric lift to create this mural in the historic neighborhood of San Telmo.

In this piece US artists Gaia and Nanook have created a thoughtful tribute to the workers of a collectively-run ice cream factory.

This piece by DOMA & FASE incorporates the iconic styles of the collective, and demonstrates their ability to collaborate seamelessly whilst working at huge scales. These are skills the artists have learned through over a decade of painting the streets together. Whilst this piece was painted as part of a festival, it still captures the spirit of this collectives work - colourful, playful, disruptive and intriguing - a challenge to the monotony of grey walls and ubiquitous propaganda. 

Credits: Story

Curator — Melissa Foss

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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