I‘ve got a thing for gritty art. Twisted metal, raw edges, recycled flotsam, retrieved jetsam, rough textures, rude colours and crude material-all tied together with a quirky sense of humour. I’ll blame my 15 years living in the Steel City, Pittsburgh, on this predilection, but more on that in some future post.
Whilst in Buenos Aires for business, Maeve, Rosie and I had the pleasure of perusing the pinnacle of gritty art when we met Carlos Regazzoni, a railway artist who turned an eerily desolate railway yard into his studio, exhibition area, and part-time taverna, El Gato Viejo (the old cat).
The taxi dropped us off on a muddy, littered side street.
A crocodile hinted at what lay ahead.
We walked quietly in the approaching dusk, eventually greeted by this reassuring sign.
And later by a Petrosauros.
Constructed from rusty metal, ancient typewriters and derelict adding machines.
Inside the shed/warehouse/studio/tavern, we encountered horses…
And reclining robots…
Whilst drinking a beer in the tavern, the pungent smell of rabbit and thyme stew permeated the cavernous, dimly-lit dining area.
We asked for a receipt (un ticket ), a request which Carlos laughed at, but seeing the seriousness in our eyes, he begrudgingly scribbled…
Although we were there ridiculously early by Argentinian standards (6pm), as they don’t start serving dinner until 9pm, I was tempted to return later. The small stage promised live music, the rough wood floor, dancing. I could imagine a rowdy, good-natured atmosphere, filled with artists, bohemians, disaffected youth, and unsuspecting tourists.
Well worth a visit, when you find yourself in Buenos Aires.
El Gato Viejo is situated at Av. del Libertador 405, near Retiro station.
Links of interest:
Carlos’s website: http://www.regazzoniarts.com/artistas/?lang=en
Nice article in the Argentina Independent online magazine about the authentic bohemian vibe on Thursday nights (live music night) at El Gato Viejo “‘Noche de Emergentes’ at El Gato Viejo”: http://www.argentinaindependent.com/tag/carlos-regazzoni/
Interview with Carlos: http://in-lan.com/2008/08/carlos-regazzoni/?lang=en
Blog post, “Argentine Railway Artist, CARLOS REGAZZONI”:http://blog.absolutearts.com/blogs/archives/00000203.html