Paying Homage to Legendary Uruguayan Artist Joaquin Torres García
For those who have spent time traveling in South America, the emblematic image of a reversed-perspective South America is probably a familiar one. It is an enduring product of one of Uruguay´s most renowned artists and the founder of the Constructive Universalist movement, Joaquin Torres Garcia. Unfortunately, most of the artist´s works were destroyed in 1979 when a fire broke out at the modern art museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during a major exhibit of his work there. In Montevideo, however, his legacy lives on in a fantastic museum bearing his name.
Joaquin Torres Garcia was a Uruguayan-born plastic artist, art theorist, prolific writer and toymaker. He was born July 28, 1874 and moved to Europe at the age of seventeen. He spent his formative years and most of his adult life in Spain and traveling around Europe. It was there he took on a significant role in the spread of Constructivism, an artistic philosophy that originated in Russia in 1919 and aimed to move the focus of art away from the purely aesthetic and toward the practical as a tool for social purposes. The Museo Torres Garcia keeps with this philosophy as it brings to the community a wide array of active art projects, while maintaining an appreciation of its art’s beauty.
The museum is located in Montevideo on the peatonal Sarandí (a promanade through old city), just beyond the Plaza Independencia and the Puerta de la Ciudadela (which contains a piece of the original wall of the walled city of Montevideo). Walking by it is hard to miss. There are books from floor to ceiling through the paned glass front and signs for upcoming courses posted. The museum has a permanent collecions as well as guest exhibitions. It also offers several courses for adults and children, including workshops in Raku ware, charcoal drawing, painting, architecture design, music appreciation, and illustration. The building also includes a basement theater designed for small theatrical projects and theater arts workshops such as play-writing workshops and acting classes.
The museum has a well-stocked bookstore, full of excellent resources for those too inclined to self-teaching. It offers a large selection of materials on sculpture, painting, photography, art history, and architecture. There is a comprehensive kids selection as well. The gift shop is an interesting place to browse and pass the time on a rainy day. And, if it is too rainy to leave your cozy abode, many of the products are available for purchase on the museum’s website. It’s the perfect spot for gifts from Uruguay. The products are all quite unique, of the finest quality and often based on the creations of Torres Garcia.
There are 30 minute guided tours available on Saturdays from 11.30am- 2.00pm, in both English and Spanish. To sign up, it is recommended to arrive a half hour before your preferred tour time. Tickets are sold at the front desk for 100 pesos (about 5 US dollars). Kids under 12 enter free. Tours can be arranged for tourist groups on alternate days by contacting the museum ahead of time at 915 65 44 or 916 26 63, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Any bus heading towards Plaza Independencia, Ciudad Vieja, Aduana, Plaza España y Ciudadela will drop you within walking distance of the museum. General admission is about 3 US dollars for visitors, 2 US dollars for residents (with Uruguayan identification) and 1 US dollar for retirees and students. Children under 12 are enter free. Admission is free for everyone on Wednesdays.
The Museo Torres Garcia is a great way to have cheap fun if you are in Uruguay for a short time, or to enrich your life with a bit of artistic expression if you are living in Montevideo.
Monday -Friday- 9.30am- 7.30pm
Saturdays 10am -6pm
Closed -January 1st, May 1st, July 18th, August 25th, November 2nd and December 25th
For more information:
Peatonal Sarandí 683,
Montevideo. CP 11000
Telephone: 915 6544/ 916 23 63