Barcelona Gallery Weekend

Barcelona Gallery Weekend is an exciting new event for art lovers and a great introduction to the Barcelona art world. This weekend some 40 venues across the city, including 21 art galleries and several museums, will showcase work from an eclectic selection of artists.

Gallery Weekend showcases the work of well established and internationally known artists such as Matt Mullivan and Mladen Stilinovi with fresh up-and-coming local talent such as Perejaume and Antoni Llena.

A wide variety of artistic styles ranging from the classical to the avant-garde are on offer, with exhibitions including works from artists such as Joaquín Torres García and world famous Catalan artists such as Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí. An interesting project called ‘Compositions’ is being run alongside the main program. Curated by Latitudes (Mariana Cánepa and Max Andrews), this examines some of the less known aspects of Barcelona through a series of temporary installations by local artists.

If you feel like a bit of gallery hopping there are four suggested routes for visiting a series of exhibitions in one go, without trekking all over town! There are two in the Eixample, one in Ciutat Vella and one in Montjuïc-l’Hospitalet.

Barcelona Gallery Weekend runs from the 1st to the 4th of October. See the event website for full details.

Posted in Areas - The Eixample, Areas - The Old Town & Ramblas, Barcelona's Museums, Exhibitions in Barcelona, Montjuic | Leave a comment

Picasso and the Reventós

A new exhibition celebrating Picasso’s close friendship with the local Reventós family gives some fascinating insights into Picasso’s personal life and his persona. The Reventós family were a bourgeois Catalan family from Barcelona, the same city where Picasso grew up. Picasso’s first met brothers Ramon and Jacint Reventós Bordoy in 1899, leading to a friendship over many decades.

On show are letters between Picasso and the Reventós brothers, many of which are illustrated with Picasso’s drawings, as well as a series of portraits by Picasso of the Reventós family.

Picasso’s relationship with the Reventós family survived the Civil War and the death of Ramon Reventós Bordoy in 1923. Later on in his life Picasso went on to support the family’s medical foundation, inspiring the creation of today’s Picasso-Reventós Foundation, which supported the organisation of this exhibition.

The exhibition runs from the 1st of October 2015 to the 10th of January 2016 at the Picasso Museum on Calle Montcada, 15-23.

For tickets and more information click here.

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Okoberfest Barcelona 2015

Oktoberfest is not from Catalunya. But the Catalans do love a good glass of beer and an excuse for merriment and a party. So if you are in town at the start of October, drop in on the Barcelona edition of this much loved and increasingly globalised festival.

Plenty of authentic German beers will be on offer including various Pilsners and Weiss beers, as well as official Oktoberfest brew from Paulaner, as created for the original Oktoberfest in Munich. Needless to say, typical Bavarian foods can be enjoyed, as well as live music and a great atmosphere.

The beauty of this celebration however is that it is includes everyone, with a children’s area meaning that the event is suitable for families.

While entry to Barcelona Oktoberfest is free, reserving a table is recommendable due to the popularity of the event.

More info.

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Casa Batlló Sound and Light Show

La Mercè has been celebrated in Barcelona since 1687, in honour of the Virgin of Grace (Mare de Déu de la Mercè) .

The Casa Batlló was built in 1877 by Antoni Gaudi, and is one of his most emblematic works. It features practically zero straight lines, and much of the façade is decorated with a colorful mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles.

Gaudí’s iconic Casa Batlló was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO a decade ago, and this will be celebrated as a part of this year’s celebration of La Mercè through the projection of an audiovisual son et lumiere show upon the building’s façade. This show features shapes and symbols which inspired Gaudí’s design for the Casa Batlló.

For more information go to:

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47th Voll Dam Jazz Festival

Barcelona is a city that loves Jazz. The Barcelona International Jazz Festival is fast approaching its 50th edition in the city, this year being the 47th.

The upcoming festival boasts a prestigious array of Jazz luminaries, as it does every year. Sponsored by the Catalan Voll Damm brewery, the four-month-long programme has become known as one of the biggest events on the international Jazz scene.

A performance from none other than Diana Krall marks the opening of this year’s festival, her new album Wallflower is released simultaneously. She first performed in Barcelona in 1996 and has returned on many occasions since.

Other acts included in the line-up for this year’s eclectic festival include folk singer-songwriter Iron & Wine, jazz and electronic duo Roberto Fonseca, clarinet maestro Paquito D’Rivera and Fatoumata Diawara, as well as a host of other interesting high calibre performers.

Performances take place at venues across the city. This year the Art nouveau treasure the Palau de la Musica will be used, as will the more intimate Jamboree Jazz Club.

You can obtain more information and the full line-up here. The festival runs from September the 26th to December the 10th.

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The MUHBA Museum in Poble Nou

The old Oliva Artés factory on Pere IV Street in Poble Nou has become a point of interest since its renovation into a new museum-cum-laboratory (MUHBA) with the aim of examining contemporary society as well as reflecting on the neighbourhood’s industrial heritage.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the factory was one of the most prolific in the district, producing metalwork, initially in the form of machine parts and later the manufacture of arms during the Civil War.

As MUHBA director Joan Roca and Albert explains “at the time, Poblenou was a highly diversified industrial district and at the centre of Barcelones and Spanish Industry, as such it was the most important industrial hub in the western Mediterranean”.

Layers of reflection

This new Museum of Barcelona has been conceived like an onion skin with different layers. The permanent exhibition contains 12 themed areas where contemporary society is explained through some very diverse objects.

For example, a SEAT car and an unopened bottle of Xibeca Damm represent industrialisation, and a luxury toilet which the Guell family bought in London for Pedralbes Palace is used to talk about changes in waste management.

In other sections, early television adverts for a Land rover are used to show various aspects of society; and a stand from the modernist Mercat de Sant Antoni expresses the creative atmosphere of the 21st century.

The aim according to Albert Roca is to “explain contemporary society, the part Barcelona has played in its growth and its own growth into a great metropolis, major European city and the capital of Catalonia”.

“From Barcelona, you can see how the contemporary world is which is rooted in Poble Nou, due to its manufacturing history,” he concludes.

Rethinking Pere IV

A temporary exhibition called “Interrogate Pere IV Axis” includes initiatives to rethink the identity of Poble Nou. Participating universities, architecture studios and local residents join here to ask questions and provide answers on how together to shape the future of the area.

Posted in Areas - Poblenou, Barcelona a world city, Barcelona's Museums, design in barcelona, Exhibitions in Barcelona | Leave a comment

Turo de la Rovira – los bunkers

Turó de la Rovira is the official name for ‘Los Bunkers’, as they are know by locals. Los Bunkers are a former anti aircraft battery built to defend Barcelona from fascist bombing raids during the Spanish Civil War. Perched high above the city, they attract visitors not only for their historical interest but also for the birds-eye view of Barcelona they offer.

The recently renovated bunkers allow visitors to delve into the history of the Spanish Civil War and the pivotal role Barcelona played in the war against fascism, on guided group tour organised by the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The tour begins in the museum, starting with its collection of paintings, sculptures and engravings from the Civil War. It then moves onto the museum’s dramatic rooftop where anti-aircraft guns were once utilised against the Italian air force in the 1938 bombing of Barcelona, a tragic attack resulting in more than a thousand civilian casualties. Finally, the tour heads up to the Turó de la Rovira to learn more about the location’s role within the attacks.

See more information on the tours here. Tours are presently only available in Catalan.

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjüic, 08038 Barcelona
Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 7pm Sunday: 10am – 2.30pm

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Barcelona Duo de Guitarra

Barcelona Duo de Guitarra made their debut in Barcelona’s Palau de la Música in 2001 performing Concierto Madrigal de J. Rodrigo. The duo will return to their roots for 11 nights at the Esglèsia de Santa Ana, just a stone’s throw from Plaça Catalunya, between the 1st of October and 28th of November, where they will be performing Carmen.

Otherwise known as Ksenia Axelroud & Joan Benejam, the duo present a new approach to traditional Spanish guitar music and are famous for their dedication to its study, investigation and performance.

The Esglèsia de Santa Ana dates from the 12th Century and with its breathtaking Gothic architecture exudes intimacy and atmosphere. This is the perfect setting to enjoy some traditional Spanish music from Barcelona Duo de Guitarra, some good company and a glass of wine.

For dates and prices click here.

Parroquia de Santa Anna Santa Anna 29, 08002 Barcelona

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Nits d’estui 2015

Nits d’estiu, or Summer Nights, takes place at the Caixa Forum. Events are subsidised and therefore affordable, ranging in price from free to 6 euros. An original and eclectic array of shows and performances from all around the world are on offer, as well as workshops and guided tours.
For instance check out Nube (Cloud). La Nube is an installation designed by Arcadi Poch with the intention of creating a play area that will make you feel like a child, even though you are not aware of it! Nube comprises of a pure white space that lends itself to reflection as well as play, a place where boundaries between art and life are blurred!

Events at Nits d’estiu take place every Wednesday evening in July and August at the Caixa Forum next to Montjuic. The full programme can be found here.

Posted in Activities - Summer, Areas - The Eixample, design in barcelona, Exhibitions in Barcelona, Montjuic | Leave a comment

Casa Vicens de Gràcia

The painstaking restoration of Casa Vicens de Gràcia is under way. The first house Gaudi designed is being converted into a museum. Andorran banking corporation MoraBanc acquired the property in March 2014 with the intention of restoring it and opening it to the public.

Gaudí was commissioned by industrialist Manuel Vicens i Montaner to design a summer cottage. With a remarkable Arabic influence, the architect integrated the garden, external gates, the facade and the interior into a single coherent work of art. From 1899 to 2014 the house belonged to the Jover Herero-family and it was recently placed on the market.

Last week Mercedes Mora, executive manager of the Casa Vicens announced that the Casa Vicens museum with open in late 2016 and will be help to increase our understanding of Gaudi’s architectural language and the development of Catalan modernism in Barcelona. The intention is to restore the house to its original state, just as it was handed over by Gaudi to his client in 1888.

This will be a remarkable achievement given that some elements of the original decor were deleted or irreversibly altered during a long century of domestic use as well as the subsequent sale of most of the original gardens.

La Casa Vicens is set to become a new cultural attraction in the city, akin to La Pedrera, La Casa Batllo and La Sagrada Familia, which attract millions of tourists every year. Therefore, high quantities of visitors are expected, and this can place a strain on the building and its location in a narrow residential street. However today’s technology offers the possibility to plan your visit in advance to make sure you have instant admission to the house when you go to avoid the frustration of waiting in line, or not get in.

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