Considered one of the principal and most iconic museums of its type in Europe, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) houses an ever-expanding art collection that focuses on the legacy of the second half of the 20th century. From the museum building itself, designed by Richard Meier, to the thoughtful exhibitions inside, the MACBA is sure to impress every visitor who decides to spend an educational and soul soothing day inside its premises.
The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) is located in the central and historic district of El Raval, just minutes away from the city’s main square Plaça de Catalunya or the neighboring Plaça de la Universitat. The area surrounding the museum was once a monastic enclave, and so before even entering the building you can witness the ardent dialogue established between the historic urban fabric of the museum’s surroundings and the contemporary art inside. The museum building itself, designed by the famous American architect Richard Meier, is a spectacular architectural monument to modern and post-modern design. It is a glistening rectangular white building that starkly contrasts its surroundings. Exactly 120 meter wide, the front of the building is covered by a three stories high glass wall that allows natural light to enter the interior but also provides a view of the square (Plaça dels Angels) from inside. There is a circular atrium that cuts across the building and runs through all four floors connecting the exhibition spaces by a series of sloping ramps and walkways while rooms are entered through slivers of concrete white walls. All of this creates an exceptionally stark and modern effect.
Finally opened in 1995, after many years of planning, the museum also acted as a catalyst for the creation of other cultural institutions in the area. Across the square there is an old (former) convent that today also houses exhibition spaces while The Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona (CCCB) opened a year earlier and is an adjoining museum that houses temporary exhibitions.
The museum’s collection focuses on contemporary art from the 1940s onwards, with a rotating permanent collection on the ground and 1st floor and temporary exhibitions on the 2nd and the 3rd floor. The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary art holds over 1600 pieces of art in its own collection but only a small part of these is ever on display. The museum’s collection focuses on establishing a critical memory of contemporary art from the point of view of the cultural and political reality of Barcelona and Catalonia. Usually highlighted are Catalonian artists such as Joan Miró, Antoní Tàpies, Francesco Torres, Joan Rabascall, Ignasi Aballí, Eulalia Valldosera and Mabel Palacín. But the MACBA collection is marked by a clear international focus as well so you can expect to also see works by Alexander Calder, Paul Klee, Dieter Roth, James Coleman, Richard Hamilton, Marcel Broodthaers, Gordon Matta-Clark, Joan Jonas, Hans Haacke, Lawrence Weiner, David Goldblatt, Allan Sekula, Krzysztof Wodiczko and many other influential contemporary artists. It is impossible to say which works exactly you can expect to see as both the permanent and temporary exhibitions change quite often so be sure to check out the official website and see what is on display at the time of your visit.
To make sure that you have a rich educational and an unforgettable experience, MACBA enriches its program with a variety of events such as lectures, seminars, guided tours, video screenings and special events. A few years ago, the museum also opened its Study Center which grants the public free access to the museum’s books, publications and archives located in the Library Reading Room or the Special Collections Room. Besides a wide range of art and art history books, here you can also browse through the exhibition catalogues published by the museum itself or one their monographic books and critical essays that will further enhance the educational aspect of your visit.
The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art offers an immensely rich experience to all its visitors and is a truly must see sight for contemporary art lovers from around the world. With the adjoining Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona (CCCB) and the former-convent exhibition space across the square you’ll be busy for quite some time enjoying the art on display and the enchanting neighborhood that is home to these institutions.
Plaza Dels Àngels, 1
934 120 810
How to get there: Metro L1 and L3, stop Catalunya or Universitat; Metro L2, stop Universitat. | Bus 9, 22, 28, 42, 47, 58, 66, 67 and 68, stop Catalunya | FGC, stop Catalunya. | Barcelona Bus Turístic, stop Catalunya .
Web site: www.macba.cat
June 25 to September 24
11am to 8pm (Fridays from 11am to 10pm, Saturdays from 10am to 10pm)
Sundays and public holidays
10am to 3pm
Closed on Tuesdays (except for public holidays)
September 25 to Jun 24 1st
11am to 7:30pm (Saturdays 10am to 9pm)
Sundays and public holidays
10am to 3pm
Closed on Tuesdays (except for public holidays), January 1st and 25th of December
Admission is free for children under 14, senior citizens (over 65), teachers, unemployed persons and members of AAVC and ICOM