Museums at midnight: free exhibitions throughout Santiago

Take in the art of Picasso, the history of the impressive Fine Arts Museum and the simple beauty of the night sky.

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This Friday is shaping up to be a big day for lovers of culture in Santiago, as museums across the city participate in the Museums at Midnight festival. Taking part in the annual event are an impressive list of the city’s finest museums, both small and large, which will throw open their doors for free until 12am midnight.

Visitors who are up for a spot of museum-hopping will be able to sample the works of grand masters and emerging artists while exploring the best of Chile’s cultural heritage and seeing live theater and music performances. All without paying a single peso.

Here, we share our picks for December 16 from three of the capital’s most happening neighborhoods: Barrio Italia, Barrio Bellas Artes/Lastarria and Barrio Matucana.

Barrio Italia (Providencia)
Participating in the Museums at Midnight for the first time is the Casa Museo (Hindenburg 683, near Metro Salvador), the old home of former Chilean president, Eduardo Frei Montalva. The two-story building is filled with more than 350 of the former president’s personal belongings, along with his impressive local art collection.

Just a short walk away, Galería Die Ecke (Av. José Manuel Infante 1208) is putting on a showcase of its best artwork of the year, featuring pieces from Johanna Unzueta, Catalina Bauer and Isidora Correa, while Galería Florencia Loewenthal (Álvarez Condarco 934) will be exhibiting paintings by Gabriella Dobo, Marcos Sánchez and Paula Dittborn.

The Picasso exhibit (Picasso: The Multiple Beauty) at the Telefónica building (Providencia 111, near Metro Baquedano) has been in full swing for several weeks now and if you haven’t already had the chance to see it, this Friday is the perfect opportunity. With more than 70 prints and lithographs spanning six decades, the exhibition gives an impressive overview of the great artist’s evolving style.

Barrio Bellas Artes/Lastarria (Santiago Centro)
A glittering jewel in Santiago’s cultural crown, the National Fine Arts Museum (Parque Forestal, near Metro Bellas Artes) will put on a special screening of Centenario, a documentary that outlines the history of the museum through the personal stories of visitors. Current displays also include pictures from acclaimed Hungarian photographer André Kertész, and Matta 100, an exhibition celebrating the centenary of the birth of iconic Chilean painter, Roberto Matta.

Not far away in Barrio Lastarria, the Plop! Galería (Merced 349, Local 7) is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of a different kind of artist: René Ríos Boettiger, or Pepo, who created the Condorito comic strip. The exhibition tracks the history of the popular cartoon through old magazines and original illustrations.

And over at Plaza Mulato Gil, the Visual Art Museum (Lastarria 307, near Metro Universidad Católica) will be showing the winners from the Sixth Annual Youth Art Contest as well as an exhibition of Catalina Bauer’s works.

Matucana
A big, green box suspended over a sunken plaza and set amidst the museum treasure trove of museums around the Quinta Normal park, Chile’s Museum of Memory and Human Rights (Matucana 501, near Metro Quinta Normal) is always fascinating. Built as a tribute to the victims of Chile’s coup and military dictatorship, it is an essential part of any visit to Santiago. But this Friday, there is an extra reason for visiting as the museum hosts a special performance of Vicente Huidobro’s play, Altazor.

A little further down Matucana, the Quinta Normal Museum of Contemporary Art (Matucana 464, near Metro Quinta Normal) has an interesting exhibition entitled ‘Local Image’ that displays the work of 28 up-and-coming Chilean artists. Free guided tours will run from 7-10pm.

And for those wanting to catch a glimpse of the stars, and perhaps Jupiter, the Universidad de Santiago’s Planetarium (Alameda 3349, near Metro Estación Central) will set up a collection of telescopes for the general public between 10pm and 11pm. There will also be a series of talks about watching the night sky, for which bookings are essential. Simply send an email to: contactoplanetario@usach.cl.