The city of Buenos Aires is served by an underground public transportation system called the Subterráneo de Buenos Aires (SUBTE). A hallmark of the train network, in operation since early 1900s, is the artwork that adorns its stations, platforms, and corridors. It’s estimated that there are currently more than 450 works of art by more than 200 artists (including some big names) under the streets of the Argentinean capital including historic murals, painted Spanish tile, modern art, mosaics, sculpture, and even a memorial. Here’s a selection of some of our favorite pieces of SUBTE underground art in Buenos Aires.
SUBTE underground art in Buenos Aires
Many of the older SUBTE stations are adorned with tile murals depicting Argentinean scenes (top, second from bottom, and bottom). On the C line, which was financed by a Spanish company in the 1930s, stations have tile murals made of Spanish tiles, painted by artists in Spain and then imported to Argentina, depicting Spanish landscapes and cities (second from top).
The Ángel Gallardo SUBTE station, on Line B, is covered in stencils of indigenous women created by artist Nazza Stencil.
The Carlos Gardel SUBTE station, on Line B, is named for the Argentinean singer, songwriter, composer, actor, and tango legend, and the walls are covered in paintings and mosaics that are an homage to Carlos Gardel.
The Medrano SUBTE station, on Line B, has a dance theme and the platform is covered in murals by Ron and Martin Agazi (aka Keni) that celebrate various forms of dance.
The platform walls of the Federico Lacroze SUBTE station, 0n Line B, are covered by work from various street artists including El Marian, Jiant, Malegria, and Primo.
The platform walls of the Federico Lacroze SUBTE station, on Line B, are covered by work by various street artists including Amalito Land, Oz Montania, Ice, and Luxor.
The Malabia – O.Pugliese SUBTE station, on Line B, showcases art by Lula Mari (top), Georgina Ciotti (2nd from top), and others.
The Retiro SUBTE station, on Line E, is home to this deconstructed head sculpture by noted Argentine artist Marta Minujin.
The Callao SUBTE station, on Line D, is covered in mosaic portraits.
Line B of the SUBTE system features original tiles installed when the line opened in the 1930s. In 2015, painters were invited to create art over some of the tiles (like the example, above, in the Dorrego station) which caused some controversy.
The Ministro Carranza SUBTE station, on Line D, features work by the illustrator of a very popular comic strip called Gaturro.
The Bodeo SUBTE station, on Line E, contains works by Pedro Cuevas that reflect the neighborhood’s tango traditions.
Modern art in the Palermo SUBTE station on Line D.
The Los Incas – Parque Chas SUBTE station, on Line B, is home to artwork with a pre-Hispanic motif.
The Santa Fe – Carlos Jáuregui SUBTE station, on Line H, is named in honor of LGBT activist Carlos Jáuregui and features LGBT-themed art like these stairs painted in the colors of the pride flag.
The Pasteur – AMIA SUBTE station, on Line B, is home to a moving memorial to the victims of Latin America’s worst terrorist attack, the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building in 1994 which killed 85 people and injured more than 300 others.