25 Years of El Attico

An art gallery that doubles as a research center

It’s not just technology that has changed since El Attico first opened its doors in April 1988. Back then it was an antique shop that doubled as an art gallery; now it’s an art gallery that doubles as a research center.
“The antique shop was dwindling, while the art gallery was becoming stronger and moving in other directions,” says El Attico co-owner Guillermo Monsanto.

So, after three months and many requests from visitors to see more contemporary pieces, Monsanto and his business partner, Luis Escobar, decided to close the antiques side of their gallery and use the extra space to develop an exposition area where they could host monthly activities and diverse exhibitions.

Ever since opening 25 years ago in zone 14, El Attico has had a hugely positive effect on Guatemala’s art scene: showcasing the country’s young, upcoming talent in one room and pieces from more established artists in the other. Its centro de documentación gives students, researchers and collectors access to information about the country’s art from the present day to as far back as la Conquista. However, the gallery’s patriotism doesn’t end there. El Attico also dedicates itself to restoring and conserving important national art that has been neglected over recent years.

The two art enthusiasts chose the name “El Attico” because, they say, “It evokes the idea of rediscovering forgotten objects and paying attention to them so that they come back to life again with another meaning.”

The gallery is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month with a special exhibition focusing on the male figure and showcasing selected works by Guatemalan artists.

For both Monsanto and Escobar, their fascination with art started during childhood and since then has become their driving force:

“In difficult times, creativity can save you. There’s no age or social condition necessary to appreciate art. What’s most important is not to lose confidence and hope in yourself.”

With its emphasis on technical sculpture work and homegrown talent, El Attico’s diverse collection is aimed at everyone and is occasionally loaned to museums and theater productions around the country.

“We are very grateful for the help and support that we have received from many people throughout this whole time. We’re really happy that we can dedicate ourselves to doing what we love and we’re ready to continue evolving,” says Monsanto.

El Attico is located on 4a avenida 15-45, zone 14 of Guatemala City, open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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