San Telmo Thursday

After a long hiatus–prompted by overlapping visits by three college friends and the first real academic deadline of my master’s program–I’m finally ready to start posting again. Here’s a note I just stuck on Juanele’s blog, about a pair of gallery openings I was able to check out last Thursday in the now-thoroughly gentrified San Telmo section of the city:

Buenos Aires doesn’t have anything like Chelsea, the New York art district where you’ll never visit just one opening in a night. In this city, if you want to see most of what’s happening on a given evening, you’ll likely be booking it across barrios. So I was excited this past Thursday to find two gallery openings just a few San Telmo blocks away from each other. Some decent contemporary art — aided, I’ll admit, by some excellent glasses of wine — made for a very pleasant start to my night.

I went first to Zavaleta Lab, where two shows featuring works by Rosario Zorraquin and Hans Wendel were on offer. Truthfully, I wasn’t much interested in either. The massive, smudgy canvases in Zorraquin’s “Madame Dioz” looked better in miniature in the brochure than as centerpieces, and Wendel’s much more modest paintings on paper were too flat to draw me in. But the gallery — crisp and white and perfectly illuminated — oozed artsy cool, and the strength of the wine selections alone was enough to justify the visit.

The art took a markedly positive turn at 713 Arte Contemporáneo. The gallery was also opening a pair of concurrent shows, Julia Masvernat’s Una acumulación que se transforma en imagen and Leila Tschopp’s Modelos ideales. They’re both lots of fun. Masvernat’s paper assemblages are a masterful embodiment of paper craft — it’s nice to know that someone cares this much about using scissors well — and it’s easy to get lost in a cloudwatching-like search for meaning among its forms. (“Is that a dinosaur?” one of my friends asked me, pointing to one particularly paleolithic blob.)

Tschopp’s galleries were equally enjoyable, less for the individual, Sheeler-light paintings themselves than for the artist’s expert use of multi-dimensional space. The canvases were placed in the center of each of Tschopp’s two rooms, layered strategically and angled against walls painted to compliment the works. It’s one of the better-installed shows I’ve seen here lately, and a highlight of my San Telmo Thursday.

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