By Regina Winkle-Bryan
You might miss CaixaForum. It’s hidden around the corner from Plaça Espanya, overshadowed by the MNAC and the Joan Miró Foundation. If you only have a few days in Barcelona, then by all means, visit the MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) and Miró Museum before CaixaForum, as they are well-known for a good reason. However, if you’re lingering in town for a week or so, pop into this Art Nouveau factory turned museum for a wander around its rotating exhibitions.
The museum‘s structure, which was created to look like a new version of a medieval castle, was designed by Puig i Cadafalch in the early 1900s. With its twisting, organic wrought iron details and Legoland bricks, the building is something to see. Make sure to look around its rooftop vista point.
Inside, stroll from building to building to see what’s on. On my last trip there was a show called ‘Japonismo’ about the fascination of European artists (such as Joan Miró) with Japanese culture, illustrations, clothing and design. In addition, there were a couple other exhibitions featuring contemporary artists. Contemporary art is not usually my thing, although I enjoyed the photography (the trail of grass along the museum floor to a broken piece of wood….not so much).
Apart from art, CaixaForum offers concerts, movies, and all sorts of cultural events. Check out their calendar here.
I find CaixaForum very peaceful. Their cafe is one of my favorite spots to have a ‘café con leche’ and a piece of apple pie. Yes, they have apple pie! It’s Spanish style, more like a tart. The cafe is modern, cool, and tranquil.
Of course, after a couple hours looking around CaixaForum, I make my way out passing through the bookshop, which is run by Laie. They’ve got an excellent selection of books on art, architecture, and hip guides to ‘alternative’ Barcelona – this is not Rick Steve’s. I always pick something up.
My complaint? CaixaForum used to be free in that it’s run by a bank called La Caixa. Well, it’s not that surprising that you now have to pay to get in (as of 2013), unless you’re a La Caixa bank member. It’s only €4.00, but it’s another sign of the economic woes Spain can’t seem to pull out of. Still, it’s €4.00 well-spent and an enjoyable way to pass the afternoon. Because CaixaForum is relatively unknown, you won’t come up against the crowds that you might find at the MNAC and Miró Museum.
Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guardia 6-8 – Barcelona – Metro Stop: Plaça Espanya
What museums do you like in Barcelona? Any faves?