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Museu d'Art Contemp Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum in Barcelona

To bid for and win the Summer Olympics and World Exposition of 1992, the city of Barcelona had to present a plan and dream as to why it was the perfect city to hold both of these global events. This plan led to or occurred while urban and cultural renewal took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s; one of the projects was the fulfilment of a decades-old dream to build a contemporary art museum in Barcelona located in the once derelict-strewn neighbourhood of Raval. The entire city was regenerated and could again breath the fresh air of being a city among the beautiful. The Museum of Contemporary Art was officially inaugurated on the November 28, 1995.

History of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona

But let us take a few historical steps back. To illustrate the urban difficulties that Barcelona faced in the first half of the XXth Century, the hope of building a museum of contemporary art dates back to 1959, and in a twist of irony, it had to be an art critic, Alexandre Cirici Pellicier, who would propose it. His idea would collapse in 1963 after the exhibition "El Arte y la Paz" opened. Another 20 years would pass before the Catalonia government jumped again on the idea. This new attempt would succeed but only after another 10 years of politicking, designing and building. The museum's foundation turned to Richard Meier, an American architect to design it.

Picture of the building

Architecture - Looking like the future

His plan fit beautifully into what Barcelona was striving to become or regain in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Carefully laid out over 4 floors and full of white, one can distinguish two pieces: a long space into which a circular one is vertically placed. The pieces of art are situated around this circular space. This dual spatial nature links the museum to its surrounding area, namely the Placa dels Angels. Combining natural light and man-made materials, the building itself can be admired as a piece of art, much like the Pompidou Centre in Paris, France. It all begins at the entrance, which acts some kind of light conduit for the rest of building. With all the amount of light coming inside the building, one would expect it to hit the paintings, but it miraculously does not. Cue the applause for human creativity!!

Picture of the entrance to the Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum

A fabulous addition to Barcelona

The museum was always thought as a companion piece to other projects in the historical centre of Barcelona, such as the Biblioteca de Catalunya library, and the Romea and Poliorama theatres; and more recent buildings, such as the Centre d'Art Santa Monica and the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona. The geographical location of the museum was deliberate as it was designed to be the key element in the Placa dels Angels, which includes the historic Convent dels Angels that now functions as theatre, exhibition and concert hall.

Artists to see inside the Museum

As to what you can find here, there is a lot; over 70000 square feet to be exact. Thi s includes dozens of Spanish and Catalonian artists as well as pieces by Klee, Miro, Tapies, Dubuffet, Oldenburg and Rauschenberg.

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