Barcelona's own take on the Tate
Affectionately known by its acronym, MACBA, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona has been a revelation since opening its doors in 1995. The stunning white concrete and glass construction, designed by American architect Richard Meier, immediately won the hearts of the locals, whilst its permanent collection of Spanish and Catalan art from the 1930s onwards filled a gap in the city’s cultural portfolio.
As well as mid-late 20th Century pieces, MACBA also hosts contemporary exhibitions by experimental and interdisciplinary artists of the new millennium from around the globe. Right next door to MACBA you’ll find another culture giant in the form of the CCCB, whilst the area outside the museum, Plaça dels Angels, has become a mecca for skateboarders and one of the city’s most popular hangouts for counter culture kids.
The museum’s permanent collection is entitled a Short Century and is exhibited across 11 rooms and the tower of the 1st Floor. It takes the viewer on a chronological journey from 1929, when Barcelona hosted the International Fair, to present day, covering nine decades in total. Experiencing art in this way helps us see how the issues of the day are reflected in art, whether that be the psychedelic vision of Zush, clearly influenced by their LSD-infused sojourns to Ibiza in the early 70s, the protest art of the Guerrilla Girls, who found themselves largely ignored in the male-centric art world of the 1980s, or the reflections on black identity by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
MACBA devotes two entire floors to temporary exhibitions in a bid to realise its mission statement “to bring contemporary art to life, with a particular focus on Catalan production,” and, “to encourage enjoyment and interest in art and contemporary culture.” While some events focus on individual artists, others tackle themes and zeitgeists. Check the museum’s official website for current exhibitions.
MACBA stays open virtually year round, closing just on 25th December and 1st January. It is also closed every Tuesday (except public holidays).
Mon, Weds to Sat: 10am to 8pm
Sundays and public holidays: 10am to 3am
If you’re staying anywhere in Barcelona Old Town districts (Raval, Gothic Quarter and El Born), you can walk to MACBA pretty easily – just click our ‘Get Directions’ link on the right of this page. Otherwise metro stations Universitat (red and purple line), Plaça Catalunya (red and green line), Liceu (green line) and Sant Antoni (purple line) are all very close… around 5 or 10 minutes walk.
You can buy tickets via the museum’s official ticket selling portal below. Tickets are also available via Get Your Guide.
Visiting the MACBA is free for holders of a Barcelona Card. You can read more about these tourist cards here, or buy one from the official Barcelona Turisme website.
Articket is designed as much for residents as tourists and your ‘art passport’ gets you into the city’s six leading art museums for free, with no need to rush… the passport is valid for 12 months after its first use. The cost of the passport is €35, meaning you save €28 if you mean to visit all six museums. Buy via Get Your Guide.