Exhausted emotionally and physically we slept in but had a few goals for the day. Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Sagra de Famiglia (the most famous Church in Barcelona), and Park Guelle.
First we went to MACBA to see the exhibits. There were four floors, three special exhibits of three different artists work and one floor of the collection of the museum. First the MACBA collection, which was very diverse many well known artists but also students of the University in Barcelona (which is right next to MACBA). Mostly media installations and paintings.
Nancy Shapiro had an exhibit on the second floor she was one of the pioneers of feminist art she collaborated with WAR (Women Artists in Revolution) and was a key figure on the dissident New York scene of the 1960s and 70s. Her drawings were very intense, often reflecting on war and violence, later her work becomes more optimistic but in all her work there is an emotional intensity that I think is fascinating. She also did a lot of mixed media and installations. And I enjoyed the letters they displayed that she wrote to major NY museums asking why there were so few female artists with work on display. Some examples of her work:
Then there was the Francesc Torres retrospective. The famous Spanish artist from Barcelona was a pioneer of installation art and critically reflects on the diverse manifestations of culture, politics, memory and power through his very diverse works.
He also showed a series called “Dark is the Room Where We Sleep” (which was at the ICP in NYC back in 2003). This was a series of black and white photos documenting the uncovering of a mass unmarked grave in Northern Spain; after photographing the forensics team he took some marvelous portraits of the local townspeople. The whole project is very moving, you should find the book if you can. At MACBA one thing he wrote that really stuck with me was the description of the church in this small town where they returned the remains to the decedents one by one. Once they finished they all walked together to bury them in the local grave yard, buried together again but this time with a proper burial.
I didn’t get many photos of his work other than the above but it’s all very different. His drawings and paintings were much different, very smart and funny in a critical way. I really enjoyed it.
For some reason I can’t find the info on the third floor exhibition, maybe it was taken down but if I have kept a handout or something in my things I promise to blog about it later.
So after such heavy subject matter and after the events of the previous day Sister and I decided we were in need of a long relaxing lunch. And for some reason we hadn’t run into many large well made salads in Barcelona so we decided to try to find that. Also a place where there was no smoking, which is hard to find in Barcelona. So we walked back towards the center and ate at a spiffy little place called Ma Ta Ma La.
After lunch we hopped on the Metro to go to Sagra de Famiglia. This church is so crazy and, of course, gorgeous.
First of all it started construction in 1882 by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi, he worked on it for 40 years and it is still not finished today! They predict it’s completion sometime in 2026! I can’t imagine it complete because at it’s current state it is already over whelming.
The structure is so unique, very Art Nouveau, Guadi was influenced greatly by nature and he used hyperboloid structures (which I can’t even attempt to explain but let’s just say he had a passion for geometry.) There are three grand facades; the Nativity facade to the East, the Glory facade to the South (not yet completed), and the Passion facade to the West and each of the towers represents different meanings or saints. There is too much history to write here but it’s really interesting and if you’re ever in Barcelona it is a must see.
We decided we were too tired to go to Park Guelle that day and needed some rest at the apartment before Valencia. We found a grocery store and bought an assortment of meat and cheese, some wine.
During our delicious and perfectly low key meal we watched some very interesting Spanish tv and did laundry. We only had a washer and thought it would only take half an hour then we would dry it; wrong! It took 2 hours for the first load, and about 4 hours total just to wash so we draped our clothes all over the apartment, went to bed, and hoped they would dry in time because the next day we left for Valencia!
Also a side note; while we were at Sagra de Famiglia I noticed that unlike most Churches this one did not have a dress code (cover the shoulders and knees). Obviously, because these two Spanish women waltzed in just like this: