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By Nancy Todd
Antonio Tàpies isn’t one of my favorite artists. His canvases are ponderous and heavy – ocher, gray, black, brown. His work is not a feel good experience. Art is meant to provoke, and Tàpies does.
The Tàpies Foundation exhibits an important part of art history. Tàpies was self-taught, lived in Barcelona and continued to make his art until he died at 99 in 2012. I do respect that his work is related as he says, “…to the philosophical world.” Strong political statements that are anti-Franco, pro-labor, and in support of Catalan nationalism are conveyed. He has exhibited in famous museums around the world including the Modern Museum of Art.
Collage is scattered about with the use of sand, straw, old pieces of wood, and his famous socks, etc. I long to touch the textures and have occasionally looked over my shoulder to see if a guard was looking but never had the nerve to stroke a paint-drenched sweater.
Whether Tàpies pops your political world or not, the red brick, modernista museum building is a winner. Once a publishing company, the spaces are huge and perfect for Tàpies’ large work. It was designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner who also did the Palau de la Música Catalana. Stand back across the street and take it all in. The roof top is a wild maze of strewn wire that sparkles in the sun. Called “Clouds and Chair, ” it is immense and tough to photograph. Angle your view to catch a glimpse of the chair. I have walked by dozens of times and it always brings a smile.
Another winner at the museum is the library open to all by appointment. With thousands of art books in many languages, the library receives over 50 books a week. I love to go their and browse. On my last foray, I learned about the Civil War in Catalunya, 1937 – 1939, by meandering through a stack of black and white photography books.
Hours: 10:00am-7:00pm; closed on Sundays
Metro: Green Line – Passeig de Gracia stop