Global Art Daily Publication™
Teniente Benjamín Matienzo y Zapiola, Colegiales, Buenos Aires. Photograph: Alsace Patrone for Global Art Daily, 2016.
Holmberg y Dr. Pedro Ignacio Rivera, Villa Urquiza, Buenos Aires. Photograph: Alsace Patrone for Global Art Daily, 2016.
Gorriti y Darwin, Palermo Viejo, Buenos Aires. Photograph: Alsace Patrone for Global Art Daily, 2016.
Alsace Patrone, March 2016, Buenos Aires.
All of the images were taken by Alsace Patrone in Buenos Aires.
No reproductions allowed.
For captions, please contact a member of GAD's team. Copyright Global Art Daily, 2016.
Buenos Aires can easily be defined as one of the world's meccas for
street artists. To paint in the city an artist must only acquire verbal
permission from the owner of a wall, or in the case of an abandoned
building, no permission is needed at all. It is in this culture of
relative legality that the innovation and global nature of graffiti in
the city has evolved, making Buenos Aires one of the foremost
destinations on the planet to paint. In many barrios in the city, this
appreciation of graffiti has evolved into a sort of competition between
neighbors, with many outer-facing walls of houses donning the signature
sprays of artists, as a reaction to the blossoming of street art in their
Street art has been an inherent component of Argentine culture
long before the global trend of painting arrived in the city, in the
early 1980s, as the world began to source New York's "Wild Style"
movement. Instead, Buenos Aires has been rooted in this style of art for
decades, where it has become essential to Argentine politics and national
identity. Public art and its prominence are essential components in the
ever-changing political core of the nation, serving as a medium through
which to instigate change. For example, through familiar repetition of
simplistic iconography, scars on the collective memory and social
structure of Argentina are never allowed to fade from the national
socio-cultural memory. Political action against dictatorships and the
disappearing of Argentine citizens are given a perpetual platform through
street art, as evidenced by the ever-present sprays of white
handkerchiefs worn by the Mothers and Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo, women
who walk the city's central plaza each week demanding continued justice,
commemoration, and struggle for human rights in the names of their loved
ones who were disappeared, killed, or stolen and re-appropriated to other
families as infants.
Similarly, a common practice in Argentina, originating in the 1950s, is
the quick overnight spray-up for political candidates. Due to the
acceptance of street art and its sheer coverage, it made for an excellent
source of political advertisement. It became a grass-roots way of
publicizing one's campaign, with the quick identification strategies of
recognizable color schemas. Overnight men in vans drive up to the empty
walls of the city, quickly outline the bubble lettering of a candidate’s
name and fill it in; leaving almost as quickly as they had arrived: a
true feat of art standardization. In a politically heightened time such
as the elections of November and December 2015, spray-ups such as these
were painted up constantly, with their remnants still widely visible
throughout the city today.
Graffiti has become essential to Argentina's capital. It matches Buenos
Aires' spectacularly contradictory nature. The city can be drab with
multi-storied patio-ed buildings greying from age or dirt, but yet
grandiose, fashioned in the elegant style of European colonial
architecture and palazzos; for which it is deemed the “Paris of South
America.” Graffiti in the city comes in every style, from every
nationality, and with every charge and statement. It gives Buenos Aires
an additional element of architectural complexity, shaping the dialog of
the nation’s culture around politics, memory and art itself. This ability
is unlike any other metropolitan area, and has come to define the rich
urban culture, and ultimately, the city’s spirit.