A soaring white edifice in the once-shabby but rebounding Raval district, the Museum of Contemporary Art is to Barcelona what the Pompidou Center is to Paris. Designed by the American architect Richard Meier, the building is a work of art in itself, manipulating sunlight to offer brilliant, natural interior lighting. The permanent collection, which is expanding all the time, exhibits the work of modern international luminaries such as Broodthaers, Klee, Basquiat, and many others. Most of the museum, however, has been allotted to Catalan artistic movements, like the Grup del Treball, who were a bunch of reactionaries producing conceptual art criticizing Franco's dictatorship with enormous documents promoting independence for Catalonia. Photographs by Oriol Maspons and Leonardo Pómes illustrate Barcelona street life and the bohemians of the Gauche Divine (Divine Left) in the '70s. Dau al Set, a surrealist movement led by the brilliant "visual poet" Joan Brossa, meanwhile, provokes thought and reflection through the juxtaposition of everyday items. Catalonia's most famous contemporary artists, Tàpies and Barcelò, are both represented. Temporary exhibitions highlight international artists or a monographic show on a particular city or political movement. The museum has a library, bookshop, and cafeteria. Outside, the enormous square has become a meeting place for locals and international skateboarders who make use of the MACBA's sleek ramp, presumably with the management's blessing.
- © Frommer's 2013
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