Colombian art is booming, with more than 40 art galleries opening across the country in the past few years, several international art fairs and Colombian artists enjoying global recognition. Here’s how you can experience the best of the best:
The Banco de la Republica’s Botero Museum is the capital’s most famous art gallery and the best place to enjoy the work of perennial favorite Fernando Botero. The National Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MAMBO) are worth visiting too, the latter houses one of the country’s most important permanent collections alongside its temporary exhibits.
Besides the big hitters, small, independent galleries are popping up across the city. In the historic center, La Peluqueria is part hair-salon, part-art gallery, with emerging art and artistic hair-styling, while El Parqueadero, a converted car park, offers an exhibition space, workshops and a library designed to encourage collaboration. Nearby Galeria MU is dedicated to fine art photography whereas Neebex, in a converted La Candelaria home, hosts diverse artistic works including films and live performances.
Further north, Chapinero’s Baobab exhibits emerging and established visual artists while AlcorrienteARTE, in Quinta Camacho, hosts art, music, dance and theater conferences alongside its exhibitions, as well as funding city social projects.
Cero Galeria, in the heart of the Zona T party zone, is dedicated to video art alongside visual, plastic, multimedia and architectural works. Nearby Galeria El Garaje exclusively promotes young talent, with a focus on painting, photography and drawing and, further north again, LaLocalidad, in Usaquen, offers a huge socio-cultural space with everything from yoga and handicraft chocolates to art workshops and exhibitions.
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Medellin’s Museo de Arte Moderno (MAMM) is the star in the city’s crown, a newly-extended art museum with a permanent display of Colombia’s most prominent artists. Besides exhibitions, it houses a state-of-the art film and music theater. Other city favorites are the Palacio de Bellas Artes de Medellin and the Museo Casa de la Memoria, the latter dedicated to the art of reflection and the value of human life, with social and academic events alongside its artistic exhibits.
Among the city’s newest galleries, Lokkus and Plecto focus on contemporary art and Banasta, in Rionegro, on up-and-coming artists. Taller 7 exhibits its artists’ works for just one night while PorEstosDias offers workshops, exhibits and participatory sessions across all artistic mediums. Campos de Gutierrez houses resident artists, designers, curators and art historians for up to two months before displaying their work.
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Gold is a key component in Colombian history and it’s worth leaving this colonial city’s colorful streets for a moment to dip inside the Museo del Oro Zenu and enjoy the handiwork of this early society. Cartagena also has a Museum of Modern Art, in Plaza San Pedro Claver, a two-story gallery housing temporary exhibits and a permanent collection that includes works by Alejandro Obregon, Enrique Grau and sculptor Eduardo Ramirez Villamizar.
Younger art galleries include NH Galeria, exhibiting Colombian artists across a range of mediums and ArtCartagena, a contemporary gallery open only by appointment. The latter focuses on the work of Colombian artists with a strong emphasis on local talent. Further afield, in the city’s San Diego neighborhood, the eclectic Casa Museo la Presentacion blends artistic exhibits and antiques fairs with a monthly farmers’ market.
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