The MACBA, opened in 1995, has become a point of reference on Barcelona’s museum scene. Grandiose, daring and different, it’s well worth a visit if you enjoy contemporary art.
The MACBA building: a masterpiece by Richard Meier
An impressive structure
The first big surprise is the sheer scale of the MACBA building, which sits on the Plaça dels Àngels. Nestled between the narrow streets of the old town, with their grey, stone buildings, it’s hard to miss this ultra-modern, bright white colossus. Surprising, to say the least!
The contrast between the museum and its environment was carefully thought out by the architect, the famous Richard Meier, who left absolutely nothing to chance.
Walking the interiors
The huge quantity of natural light which floods through one immense glass wall is particularly pleasant, and the museum is very easy to get around due to the use of a single ramp system.
The exhibition spaces are designed in order to bring out the best in each piece, with settings appropriate to each work’s dimensions and a range of other elements, including lighting (soft or spectacular) and viewing space (grandiose or quiet and intimate). The whole viewing experience changes from one gallery to the next.
Collections and exhibitions at the MACBA
The MACBA mostly shows pieces from the second half of the 20th Century, generally by artists whose work is not widely known.
The whole point of the MACBA is to get off the beaten track and to showcase up-and-coming artists. This does mean, however, that it can be hard for uninitiated visitors to get to grips with some of the works on display. Thankfully, detailed explanations of each exhibition can be found on the walls of the galleries, in Catalan, Spanish and English.
One special characteristic of the MACBA is that it only plays host to temporary exhibitions. These are selected for their complex perspectives on contemporary culture, using art to come to terms with the political, social and economic dynamics of modern times.
Temporary exhibition: Jaume Plensa
Sculptures by Jaume Plensa from December 1st 2018 to April 22nd 2019
MACBA presents a retrospective from the 80s to nowadays of the poetic and philosophical work of this great artist and sculptor from Barcelona.
The museum is big and the collections are vast. In addition to paintings, sculptures, collages and a few installations, it also features documentaries. Comfortably ensconced in front of the screen, you won’t notice time slipping away! It’s easy to spend a good three hours in the MACBA, immersed in the works on offer. The documentaries shown are generally in English and/or Spanish.
- Full price: €10 (€9.50 if you book using this link)
- Concessions: €8, valid for students, journalists, users of the tour bus and holders of the Articket
- Annual pass: €15 (unlimited entry)
- Admission is free on Saturdays from 4pm to 8pm.
- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 11am-7.30pm
- Tuesday: closed (except public holidays)
- Saturday: 10am-9pm
- Sunday and public holidays: 10am-3pm
- Closed on the 1st of January and the 25th of December
- Last entry 30 minutes before closing time
- The MACBA offers guided visits in sign language, open to all, on the third Sunday of every month at around noon.
- Special visits for the visually-impaired are also organised on the first Sunday of every month at around 10.30am.
- The museum is fully accessible, and two wheelchairs are available to borrow if required.