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Visitors to an exhibition at MACBA (Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art) in Barcelona, Catalonia

A guide to Spain’s most famous museums of contemporary art

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If your idea of a cultural holiday is wandering the corridors of a museum at your own pace, Spain offers you a whole spectrum of possibilities at some of the most famous contemporary art museums in Spain, and indeed in Europe. All ready to welcome you with open doors!

  • View of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Vizcaya, the Basque Country

    Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

    The architecture of this museum is a work of art in itself, located on the banks of the Nervión river. Its designer, Frank O. Gehry, opted to strip this building of all flat surfaces, transforming it into a curved icon of its home city. The experience starts outside, bringing together such popular sculptures as the Puppy that stands guards at the building’s entrance, a large statue made of flowers and created by Jeff Koons, and the enormous spider sculpted by Louis Bourgeois, offering a stunning welcome to the museum. Once inside, you’ll find yourself facing one of the most impressive exhibitions of contemporary art by artists such as Eduardo Chillida, Mark Rothko and Richard Serra.

  • Building of the Castilla y León Museum of Contemporary Art, Castilla y León

    Museum of Contemporary Art of Castilla y León (MUSAC), León

    One of this museum’s main attractions is its colourful façade: a mosaic consisting of 3,351 glass tesserae in 37 different colours, based on the tones used to construct the scenes of León Cathedral’s “Falconer” stained-glass window. What’s more, together with its complex structure, designed by the architects Mansilla and Tuñón, the building was awarded the European Union’s Mies van der Rohe Prize for Contemporary Architecture. This is a museum marked by art from the 20th and 21st centuries, exhibiting both local and international examples of contemporary art. In particular, you’ll find European artistic creations such as the works of Pilar Albarracín, Lara Almarcegui and Sergio Belinchón. 

  • View of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona, Catalonia

    Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA), Barcelona

    Not far from the Plaça dels Àngels, you’ll find MACBA, alongside a number of buildings with very close links to its activities, such as the documentation centre and the Los Ángeles Convent. The historical structures that surround the building contrast with the museum’s contemporary art exhibits, as well as with the modern character of its main building, designed by the architect Richard Meier.Inside, works from the second half of the 20th century are exhibited in particular, by local, Spanish, and international artists. The museum has presented exhibitions by some of this era’s most important artists, inviting spectators to lose themselves in the material abstractions of Jean Debuffet and the artistic movement that employed materials not usually seen in works of art for the first time, or to entertain themselves with the work of European Pop-Art artists.On top of all this, MACBA offers other events beyond viewing its collection, as it houses an auditorium which often hosts lectures, concerts and educational activities.

  • Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid

    The museum was founded in 1992 in the neoclassical Madrid General Hospital, where it now exhibits valuable collections of contemporary art. Among these, the richness of Spanish art is not overlooked, providing a chance to journey through the works of artists such as Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Eduardo Chillida, Ramón Casas, Santiago Rusiñol and Joan Miró.But wait, this museum has much more to offer! Works by such iconic personalities as Kandinsky, collections of Expressionism and Cubism, and Surrealist art by figures such as René Magritte. These are just some of the most impressive of Spain’s museums of contemporary art. The best qualities of art cannot be told, they have to be experienced in person – so be sure to add them to your list!

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