press release

Inspired by the vernacular architecture, design, and urban landscape of Buenos Aires, photographer Facundo de Zuviría (b. 1954) captures the intimate and often unnoticed details of daily life in his images of the Argentine capital. Curated by Alexis Fabry and Gabriela Rangel, the exhibition centers on the photo-essay, Siesta Argentina. Originally conceived as a photobook, the series was triggered by the 2001 “corralito crisis”—the social and economic downturn that shook the Argentine nation. Published in 2003, Siesta Argentina has been exhibited in Argentina, France, and Germany, but is now being presented for the first time in the United States.

Popularized by journalist Antonio Laje, the corralito, which translates to “the corralling” or “herding,” refers to the economic measures adopted by the Argentine government to prevent a run on the nation’s banks, and included limiting cash withdrawals and the freezing of assets. De Zuviría charted the effects of the corralito through 36 black and white photographs of the shuttered storefronts he encountered during his walks through the capital. At times marked by graffiti and other signs of public discontent, the repetitive frontality of de Zuviría’s closed facades attests to the depth of the crisis, documented with a conceptual dryness.

“The introspective and roving images of Facundo de Zuviría operate in dialogue with the work of North American artists Martha Rosler and Zoe Leonard,” says Rangel, Americas Society chief curator and Visual Arts director. “Each of them constructed important forensic archives of spaces lost to urban development.”

To highlight such transnational connections, Rosler’s The Bowery in two inadequate descriptive systems (1974–75) and Leonard’s Analogue (2007) are publications featured in the exhibition alongside de Zuviría’s acclaimed photobooks. Though each represents a distinct project, the works of de Zuviría, Rosler, and Leonard share an archival framework as explorations about the rapid changes and transitions that transform cities across the globe. By focusing his practice on the city, de Zuviría also draws on a rich local and international tradition of modernist photographers including Horacio Coppola and Walker Evans.

“According to Facundo de Zuviría, his photographic journeys through Buenos Aires were born from his obsessions,” notes Fabry. “Rather than mere chance, his images derive from an effort to reconstruct the city from its fragile remnants, its ‘modest differences,’ to borrow the words of [Argentine writer Jorge Luis] Borges.”

During the 1980s, de Zuviría took part in the Programa Cultural en los Barrios organized by the city of Buenos Aires, recording the architecture of the various neighborhoods of the Argentine capital. Departing from a documentary impulse, de Zuviría’s work later evolved into his first photobook, Estampas Porteñas (Buenos Aires Images), published in 1996. In addition to the Siesta Argentina, de Zuviría’s exhibition at Americas Society also includes vintage photographs from the earlier series.

Wandering Buenos Aires: A conversation between Facundo de Zuviría and Reinaldo Laddaga March 22, 7pm