For anyone with an interest in art and culture, the MACBA museum is a great place to visit. ‘MACBA’ stands for Barcelona’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Catalan, and with more than 5,000 works in its collection, it more than holds its own within Barcelona’s extensive list of museums.
The various programmes and exhibitions found inside are a treat for all art lovers, while the vibrant area surrounding the MACBA provides a perfect panorama for a spot of people-watching.
Ambience around the MACBA
The building itself is visually impressive, due to its vast size and striking white colour. Instantly recognisable, it’s an easy museum to locate, even when you’re peering through the narrow walkways of the Raval district.
The Plaça dels Ángels, the square just outside the museum, is a famous meeting point for the city’s skateboarders and we’d recommend staying there a while to watch them. Lining the square are cafés with outdoor seating, while huge glass windows of the MACBA’s interior overlook this buzzing area of Barcelona street life.
The building itself
That said, the noisy and colourful surroundings of the Raval stand in stark contrast to the calm interior of the light and airy MACBA building.
The building’s American architect, Richard Meier, has clearly designed the museum with a minimalist aesthetic in mind. This is reflected in the all-white walls and the long sloping walkways that replace conventional stairs. As white is seen as an absence of colour, the space allows the art to take centre stage.
What’s waiting inside
Unusually, the MACBA doesn’t have a permanent collection on display, which is down to the vast size of the museum’s portfolio (containing works by Spanish, Catalan and international artists).
The ever-changing nature of the exhibitions means that you can go back time and time again and always see something different. To find out what’s currently showing as well as see details of previous exhibitions, check the MACBA’s website.
The museum is keen to get visitors to interact with the art, and so focuses on activities and programmes for you to get involved in. It also offers guided tours which are included in the admission price and are available in various languages. These take place at set times, but if you’re in a pre-organised group you can arrange a time beforehand. By taking one of these tours, you’ll be introduced to the ideas underlying modern art, with a particular focus on the concepts behind the MACBA’s permanent collection. You will also hear about the history of the MACBA building itself plus detailed descriptions of individual works.
Modern art might not be to everyone’s liking, but the museum is worth a visit even just to the experience the venue itself. The building’s high ceilings, white walls and large exhibition halls all combine with the works on show to reflect one of the major themes of modern art: the search for meaning. So although Barcelona has an array of museums to rival any city, the MACBA is one of the standout cultural attractions in the Catalan capital.
Pl. dels Angels, 1
Metro: L3: Catalunya; L1, L2: Universitat
Bus: 24, 41, 55, 64, 91, 120, 141
Phone: 00 93 412 08 10
For prices and opening times, see the website.