Macba, El Raval

As you weave through the serpentine streets of El Raval you’ll eventually hit Plaça dels Àngels, which isn’t just a hotspot for Barcelona’s skateboarders. It’s also home to the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (Macba), the city’s main contemporary-art institution. Its permanent collection comprises about 5,000 works dating from the postwar period to the present day. There’s a vast Spanish and Catalan contribution as well as international art, particularly from eastern Europe and South America. Macba’s diverse and thoughtful exhibitions have covered everything from Catalan poets to forensic architecture. 

All is curated under the watchful eye of director Ferran Barenblit, whose CV spans Espai 13 in Fundació Joan Miró, the New Museum in New York and Madrid’s Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo.

1 Plaça dels Àngels, 08001 
+34 93 412 0810 
macba.cat

CaixaForum Barcelona, La Font de la Guatlla

This former factory near Plaça d’Espanya was requisitioned by the Spanish bank La Caixa in 1963 and became one of the most unusual spaces in Barcelona when it opened as a public gallery in 2002. It’s worth visiting simply to admire the building; be sure to make the trip up to the roof. 

The impressive line-up of shows that are held within CaixaForum’s walls are an added bonus of this architectural delight. Expect vast exhibitions of big-name artists, from Andy Warhol to Giorgio de Chirico. As well as boasting some of the most-visited art shows in Barcelona, this cultural centre completes its annual programme with talks, concerts and workshops.

6-8 Avinguda de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 08038 
+34 93 476 8600 
caixaforum.es/barcelona/home 

Sala Parés, Barri Gòtic

Sala Parés is the oldest art gallery in Spain. It started out as an art supplies shop owned by Joan Parés, who in 1877 decided to begin showing what his customers were creating. By 1884 the building had been extended and was exhibiting the most prominent Catalan artists of the day, including Ramón Casas. By 1925 the Parés family had closed shop and the Maragall family had taken over. “Sala Parés was the first place to exhibit Picasso in Barcelona,” says Helena, the daughter of current owner Joan Anton Maragall. The family also runs Galeria Trama upstairs, which focuses on contemporary art. 

5 Carrer Petritxol, 08002 
+34 93 318 7020
salapares.com

Images: Silvia Conde

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  • The Curator