On the last day of our trip to Barcelona, we had a chance to visit the Museu D’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, commonly referred to as MACBA. We got to see the most current exhibition of some famous works. I will be the first to admit that l am not a big fan of contemporary art. My taste runs more towards the Impressionists. I love art that is visible, in the sense that l can look, and immediately recognize what the painting is. I don’t really care about trying to guess at what the artist is trying to convey or find a hidden meaning to it. None the less, l was curious to see if l would change my mind upon seeing some of the works.
MACBA Barcelona: (Intangible art and all)
The MACBA is located in the El Raval neighborhood, Ciutat Vella. It is very modern looking building made of glass that draws light inside, making it very bright and airy. When newly built, it was referred to as “The Pearl”. It’s easy to see why. The building stands out in an area that dates back hundreds and hundreds of years, with their narrow streets and ancient architecture. You can still glimpse part of the ancient wall that enveloped the old city from the museum, and it is located just a few blocks from the Gothic Quarter. The little square right outside is a very popular place for skateboarders to show off their skills and is also a great place to people watch.
The first art exhibit that you see in the MACBA is:
Some objects of desire:
This main exhibition is a well known body of work by Lawrence Weiner, a New York born conceptual artist. This collection has been on permanent display since 2004. It is described as a mathematical equation that emphasizes the relationship between humans and physical objects. I didn’t get it :-). In case you can’t see what the equation is, here you go:
Some objects of desire
Some objects of necessity
Some objects of no concern
Those things that escape notice
A force majeure
Say wwwhhaaattt ? :-)
The poor guide that we had was trying her best to describe it, but it was easy to tell that most of us there didn’t get it from the quizzical looks we were giving each other. I liked some of the paintings themselves, mostly red and blue symbols. They looked to me more like awesome company Logo designs which l suppose is art in itself :-).
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I enjoyed much better the colorful works that were on display by other contemporary artists that were lesser known. I also liked the old black and white photographs that were on display. There were these sets of paintings that l can not recollect who they were made by. I think she said the collection was “two faces” or something like that. I loved those!. It showed you a man as he was, and then you flip open the canvas, and there was another face of the same guy, often the true character of the face. There is the face that you present to the world, everything is fine and dandy face, but underneath, there is the true self..some happy, but more often, sad, haunting, vicious or angry. Human nature!. That l understood.
This is another permanent work by artist Antoni Tapies that is on permanent display at MACBA. I struggled really hard with this one too. In the end, l still didn’t know what to make of it, The guide said it was a complex work, and was born out of some deep trauma that was experienced by the artist as a young man. It is supposed to symbolize fragility and instability. The Bosnian war was going on when it was first presented, and that was clearly some of the thinking behind it. I will just show you the pictures, and let you tell me what you think of it. There are three parts to the work. The hospital bed is 1. The chairs outside is 2. The #3 l am not sure if it is the chain that sort of links them together, or the chair that is next to the bed.
This was by far my favorite part of the whole visit, and l spent a considerable amount of time in here, a time capsule of sorts. Finally, something that was identifiable to me. Spanish popular culture from the seventies to the nineties. Movie stills and album covers from that period were on display. Pedro Almodovar, the Spanish film maker has been one of my favorite artists since the eighties when l discovered what l considered classic movies, like “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown”, “Law of Desire” and “Matador”. I used to have the biggest crush on Antonio Banderas then :-). It was a nice walk down memory lane. There were also listening stations. That was fun. I got to listen to old Spanish folk songs, bolero and other genres that were considered controversial, but were nonetheless popular in those times like “The Clash”. Radio stations were constantly harassed by the police. Thank God times have changed somewhat, even though sometimes l think the pendulum might have swung way too far to the other side. Maybe l am just getting too old.
There were other displays that we did not get to see, such as Richard Hamilton’s “Growth and Form”. It looked pretty interesting, but we were running short on time. The MACBA bookstore is also a quite cute and very modern, just like the museum itself. It felt more like a work of art, you almost didn’t want to ruin the aesthetics by perusing or purchasing something, even though it’s highly encouraged.
On the whole, l enjoyed the visit to MACBA. It was nice to see a side of art that l wouldn’t normally expose myself to. While l can’t say that l liked it as much as l loved my visit to the MNAC, l am still very glad that l saw it. Would l visit it again? The answer would be yes, l would. I wouldn’t visit the Rinzen or the Weiner works again, but l would go for the other displays as well as their constantly changing exhibitions. It is a very nice way to spend an afternoon in Barcelona. The entry fee is kind of pricey to me, but unfortunately par for the course in Barcelona.
MACBA Barcelona hours:
Placa dels Angels 1,
Monday- Friday 11AM – 8PM
Saturday: 10AM – 8PM
Sundays and Holidays: 10AM – 3PM
Nearest Metro stop is Catalunya
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What do you think of the MACBA and it’s exhibition of contemporary art? Do you “get it” and think l am a thicko for not getting it :-)? Are you a fan, or would you pass? What would you say is your favorite medium of art?