MACBA Barcelona

Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
Plaça dels Àngels
08001 Barcelona
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Mon to Fri: 11:00 am — 7:30 pm
Tuesday: Closed
Saturday: 10:00 am — 8:00 pm
Sun and public holidays: 10:00 am — 3:00 pm
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The goal of the MACBA, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, is to promote enjoyment and engagement in art and contemporary culture through a transformational influence and ambition between individuals and society.

Temporary exhibits are nearly often daunting and fascinating. The ideology of MACBA is to do away with the old paradigm of a gallery where artwork is a spectacle, and to create a space where art can be viewed objectively, such that exhibits are typically connected to discussions and activities.

Outside the spectacle is as intriguing as it is inside. Though skateboarders dominate the area south of the museum (considered one of Europe’s great skateboarding locations), you could find kids playing cricket in Plaça de Joan Coromines.


The permanent collection of about 5,000 works (up from 1,100 at the time of the founding of the museum in 1995) dates from the mid-20th century onwards. There are three periods of modern art represented: the first is from the forties to the sixties; the second is from the sixties to the seventies; the third is contemporary. The collection focuses on post-1945 Catalan and Spanish sculpture, although some foreign artists are also represented.


The history of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona goes back to 1959, when the art historian Alexandre Cirici Pellicer pioneered the concept of establishing a museum for contemporary art in Barcelona. Cirici and Cesáreo Rodríguez-Aguilera, among other notable personalities, started to assemble a collection that would act as the base for the future museum.

In 1985, Joan Rigol, then Culture Councilor of the Government of Catalonia, took up the concept of a museum of modern art, which he shared with other members of the Department of Culture of the City Council of Barcelona, headed by Pep Subirós. The text of the Cultural Agreement, initiated by Rigol and approved by the two administrations, ratified the formation of a coalition made up of the Government of Catalonia and the City Council of Barcelona, which planned to house the museum in the former Casa de la Caritat.

However a shift in the Council’s leadership put the initiative on hold a few months later. In 1986, the Barcelona City Council, led by Pasqual Maragall, approached Richard Meier, a North American architect, to construct a new museum. The art critics Francesc Miralles and Rosa Queralt were commissioned to compose the mission statement of the museum.

The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Foundation was eventually founded in 1987, chaired by the entrepreneur Leopoldo Rodés, who was the pioneer of a private initiative in the project. The new museum was established in 1988 with the formation of the Consortium of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, which consisted of the Government of Catalonia, the Barcelona City Council and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Foundation. Its formal opening took place on 28 November 1995.

In 2007, the Ministry of Culture joined the Consortium, and on 14 April 2008 the Council adopted new laws outlining its function. The three public administrations that make up the Consortium contribute the funds necessary for the day-to-day operation of the Museum, whilst the MACBA Foundation is responsible for raising the capital needed to create a permanent collection.

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