MACBA – Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art

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MACBA – Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art

For contemporary art lovers

If you are fan of contemporary art, you should definitely visit MACBA where art is taken very seriously indeed! The abbreviation MACBA stands for Museum of Contemporary Art. This is the 11th most popular tourist attraction in Barcelona. It displays art mainly from the second half of the 20th century and includes the works of many great painters!

The permanent collection is managed by the MACBA Foundation. This collection begins with an evolution of the European pop, starting from the sixties and seventies. After this, the collection focuses on the avant-garde of the sixties and seventies, followed by literature and poetry. Thereafter, the main focus is on a photographic figurative representation in the eighties, before reaching today’s younger artists. There you will find works by Catalan, Spanish and international artists, particularly from South America and Eastern Europe. The museum recently started showing works by artists from North Africa, the Middle East and the Arab world.

Most of the works are from the institutions that comprise the MACBA Consortium, including Barcelona City Council and the Government of Catalonia, but also from donations, loans and deposit agreements from other entities such as the Diputació de Barcelona and individuals.

MACBA offers access to a complex vision of contemporary culture, in which today’s art becomes a key element for understanding current social, economical and political dynamics. There are temporary exhibitions which present a modern experience and contemporary art through some of their leading exponents. However, the showcases of the MACBA Collection offer the historical narrative that explains the different periods. Both types of exhibitions allow MACBA to spread art and the knowledge derived from studying it. The Museum mainly offers exhibitions from named artists – sculptors, painters, and filmmakers. However, it also invites you to join regular workshops, conferences, film projects and audiovisual performances which take place in the museum.



MACBA origins from 1959, as the art critic Alexandre Cirici Pellicer suggested the opening of a museum for contemporary art. He formed a group of contemporary artists showing work in a series of 23 exhibitions with the hopes of beginning a collection for a new contemporary art museum in Barcelona. Together with Cesáreo Rodriguez Aguilera, he contributed the first works of art. The first exhibition ¨Art and Peace¨ was clearly politically motivated and shown in 1963. It showed the limits of political provocation in times of Franco’s dictatorship. Their cooperation had ended. It was not until 1986 that the Barcelona City Council recommended the American architect Richard Meier and Partners (1987–1995) to design the museum. Art critics Francesc Miralles and Rosa Queralt were invited to write the museum’s mission statement. In 1987, the MACBA Foundation was finally created. In the following year the MACBA Foundation, in conjunction with the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Barcelona City Council, founded the MACBA Consortium.


The Consortium assigned Meier later that year to build the museum. This was a controversial issue considering that the museum had no collection at the time of construction. However, Meier accepted the difficult task of creating a building that would ultimately display a variety of contemporary artworks that were unknown to him at the time of design. The choice to build the museum in the Plaça dels Ángels is consistent with Meier’s vision Xto situate the building amongst some of Barcelona’s oldest streets and buildings.

After the completion, local media referred to the museum as “the pearl” amongst the old architecture and narrow streets just a few blocks from Gothic center of Barcelona.

The building’s architectural style has strong references to Modernism. The large white building has much of its southern elevation glazed, providing the visitor with views across the square, and allowing for an abundance of natural light to illuminate the interior gallery.

Schedule and tickets.

Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 11 am to 7.30 pm

Tuesday closed (except public holidays)
Saturday, from 10 am to 9 pm
Sunday and public holidays, from 10 am to 3 pm

June 1st, open from 10 am to 7.30 pm
Last tickets are sold 30 minutes before closing.

Address: Plaça dels Àngels, 1, 08001 Barcelona

Tickets: 10 €. Buy your ticket here!


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