PROA, La Boca: An Explosive and Alternative Museum Experience Posted on 7 Feb 02:56 , 0 comments

Article by Claire McKeever.

Proa La Boca

It’s not often you would associate the area of La Boca with anything but its colorful tinned houses, tourist filled cobble stone streets and (lets be honest) its reputation as one of Buenos Aires’s more sketchy neighborhoods. However, Fundacion PROA, a modern contemporary museum ­ sat right beside the well­ known El Caminito ­ is fast becoming one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon (whenever I manage to haul myself so far south of the city that is).

Being displayed at the museum right now is “IMPROMPTU”, work by Cai Guo­Qiang, a Chinese­born artist based in New York. The main focus of the exhibition is Guo­Quiang’s gunpowder­infused works that are epic in proportion and in the work that has gone into them.


For these pieces, gunpowder was positioned over the artist’s drawings then set alight.  Not joking. And, in one of the exhibition’s rooms, there’s an opportunity to watch the whole process unfold over a short video. I was riveted as I watched CGQ do his thing and impressed at the fact that the whole exhibition was created here in Buenos Aires, with the help of volunteers from local universities.

All six of the gunpowder pieces have been inspired by the artist’s visits to Iguazu Falls, Salta and Misiones (in the far northern part of the country), as well as his time in Buenos Aires; a diverse mix of landscapes, animals and people subtly represented through colours, textures, drawings, stencils (and gunpowder of course).


In addition to Guo­Qiang’s gunpowder inspiration and as part of IMPROMPTU, he has also exhibited a quirky milonga installation at the beginning of the exhibition and a ceramic sculpture that hangs above the museum’s bookshop. What’s more, he arranged for a Tango related firework display to take place just last month in celebration of the exhibition. Yep, this guy really doesn’t do things by half.

When speaking of his overall experience, Guo­Qiang summed it up by saying the following: “Argentina and the people baffled me, bringing both anxieties and surprises; the natural landscapes that are completely different from one another; the diverse styles of milongas and dancers… I am like a seed sown on the land, now growing and bearing fruit after absorbing the sunshine, water and love from the people here. Thank you.


So, there you have it: Fundacion PROA ­ somewhere to provide you with a bit of respite from the busier side of La Boca, while experiencing something a bit more alternative. And, did I mention there’s a rooftop bar? …

  • Fundacion Proa, Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca, Buenos Aires
  • Opening hours: Tuesday ­- Sunday, 11 ­- 7pm
  • “IMPROMPTU” exhibits until March 2015