By Nancy Todd
Antonio Tàpies isn’t one of my favorite artists. His canvases are ponderous and heavy - ochre, gray, black, brown. His work is not a feel good experience. Art is meant to provoke, and Tàpies does.
However, as a museum in Barcelona, 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 philosopical world.” Strong political statementsare 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 occaisionally looked over my shoulder to see if a guard was looking but never had the nerve to stroke a paint drenched sweater. The big news is that the Fundacio Antonio Tàpies has reopened after two years of rennovation.
Whether Tàpies pops your political world or not, the red brick, Modernista Foundation building is a winner. (For Modernista (Art Nouveau) bars in Barcelona we have the Scoop). Once a publishing company, the spaces are huge and perfect for Tàpies’ large work. It was designed by Mutaner who also did the Palau de la Musica. 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 Foundation 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: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 – 8, Small shop.
Metro: Green Line