Contemporary art in Quito is one of the city’s thriving mediums, which takes its inspiration from those who have come before. Works from the masters of the Quito School of Art hang in the cathedrals that date back to the Spanish, pieces in the Capilla de Hombre in the north of the city are world-renowned artist Oswaldo Guayasamin’s tribute to the people of Latin America, and Inca and pre-Colombian art can be found in the museum of the Central Bank of Ecuador. Keep reading for three places found hidden in plain sight in the historic center for lovers of contemporary art.
Museo Casa de la Acuarela is a small museum started by Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Muñoz Mariño. One of the premier contemporary watercolor artists in Ecuador, Oswaldo created a space that gave national artists space to show their work and also taught workshops in the enclosed back garden or the nearby plaza down the street in the historic San Marcos neighborhood. While the artist died in 2016, his legacy lives on. Alongside temporary exhibits is a collection of Mariño’s work highlighting stunning depictions of the country’s cities, towns, and natural landscapes in vibrant color.
Junín E2-27 y Almeida San Marcos
Centro de Arte Contemporaneo showcases the best contemporary art in Quito-drawing from a pool of national and international artists. The museum is housed in a colonial-era military hospital built by Italian architect Lorenzo During, CAC’s galleries feature artists who create works on canvas, using multimedia and three-dimensional pieces.
Wandering the exhibit spaces and courtyards is a great way to spend a few hours before heading off to other parts of the historic center. The space located above the Basilica and overlooking the plazas below and Parque Itchimbia on the other side of the valley also offers workshops and classes for the community. Past monthly events include a ghost tour, held at night and building on the notion that the residents of the military hospital still lurk the hallways after dark!
Montevideo y Luis Dávila Barrio San Juan
The Metropolitan Museum of Quito sits on a corner of Plaza Grande in a 400-year-old building with two floors of galleries around a glass roof courtyard. The museum first-floor galleries have national and international temporary exhibits-being shown in these spaces is considered an honor and a sign that your work is part of the cutting edge art scene in the city. Past showings here have included the works of Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono, a sharp contrast to the historic works of art in the nearby churches.
Gabriel Garcia Moreno y Espejo
Contemporary art in Quito and Ecuador has been mentioned by the Guggenheim Museum’s blog as far back as 2015. The scene is constantly in motion-artist show their work on the streets, in the parks, out of their studios, or in the cafes of the historic center.
If you are in Quito for a day before or after your trip to other parts of the country, take some time to explore the evolving culture that makes Ecuador a go-to destination for all types of travelers.