Art Superstars and Local Specialities
Moving images in the windows of chic boutiques, in dimly lit bodegas, or stylish tapas bars—once a year, Barcelona transforms into a paradise for lovers of video art. During the ten-day springtime Loop Festival, artists’ videos are shown in approximately one hundred spots around the city—sometimes in subtle locales, sometimes more prominently displayed. Toward the end of the festival, international art audiences regularly flock to the three-day Loop Fair, held in the converted “black-box” suites of a four-star hotel. This is perhaps the best opportunity to get to know the local institutions and galleries. While the Museu Picasso and the Fundació Joan Miró focus on the art of these two superstars, as well as presenting smaller rotating exhibitions, the Fundació Antoni Tàpies has consistently made a name for itself with a decidedly contemporary program showing artists ranging from Allan Kaprow to Harun Farocki, to Allora & Calzadilla, in addition to its collection. Carles Guerra, its well-connected director, was appointed in 2015 much to the enthusiasm of the local art scene. In the same year, Argentine-native Ferran Barenblit took over the helm of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). The blinding-white Richard Meier building was opened in 1995 in the trendy Raval district and showcases an excellent collection of Spanish and international art from the 1950s to today. Temporary exhibitions are devoted to the latest trends but also to earlier avant-garde movements. From here it’s just a few steps to one of the most exciting commercial galleries: Àngels Barcelona focuses on conceptually charged and socially critical photography, film, and video art. An interesting new addition to the scene since 2015 is the local offshoot of the Madrid-based Fundación Mapfre. Located in the sumptuously designed Casa Garriga i Nogués, this foundation specializes in carefully crafted monographic exhibitions of major photographers such as Hiroshi Sugimoto or Shōmei Tōmatsu.