In Buenos Aires, a Fusion of the New and the Old

December 9, 2008

I was recently in Buenos Aires the same weekend that Fundación Proa, which had been shuttered for construction, reopened to the public. The building project expanded the facilities of the contemporary art space in the historic La Boca area by conjoining and updating two nineteenth-century houses. A Duchamp show is presently on view but, to be honest, I was more interested in the way Proa’s refreshed space, envisioned by Caruso-Toricella Architetti, fused with the original space. In fact, I found myself looking up at the magnificent ceiling more than I did taking in the objects. Here weathered columns juxtapose crisp, Flavin-esque fluorescent lighting:

Along the same vein, this is the super-white new/old façade:

In its entirety, Proa’s revitalized, expanded space reminded me of a physical embodiment of LACMA’s endeavor to illuminate the old with the new. Similar to Jorge Pardo’s innovative installation design in our pre-Columbian galleries, Proa’s space prompted me think about the power of context yet again.

Allison Agsten


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