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  • Blues and classical music concerts at the MEAM

    Blues and classical music concerts at the MEAM

    The European Museum of Modern Art, the MEAM, located in a Baroque building of the 18th century (Palau Gomis), is offering more than contemporary figurative art. A series of activities related to music is planned throughout the year, to enjoy a different kind of program.

    Every Friday evening, the museum is filled with music. The Friday's Blues cycle offers the possibility of enjoying a concert of bluegrass blues, swing and jazz. Bands bring their instruments to accompany the works and fill the museum with music for visitors to enjoy. Saturday evenings are reserved for classical music. The concerts usually start at half-past five and include an afternoon snack.

    Before the concerts, you can visit the collection exhibiting the best of contemporary figurative art. This is a feature of MEAM and highlights it from other contemporary art museums.

  • Picasso and Romanesque Art

    Picasso and Romanesque Art

    Barcelona's special relationship with Pablo Picasso is highlighted once more in this exhibition at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC) that explores a specific area of the artist's work. Looking at the period between 1906 (when Picasso visited the town of Gósol in the Catalan Pyrenees) and 1934 (the year the Spanish artist first saw the MNAC's Romanesque collection), the show delves into three themes found both in Picasso's work and the Romanesque art that is such a key part of Catalan history. The first is the piece 'Virgin from Gósol', which Picasso saw during his visit to the town and is now part of the MNAC collection; the second is the Crucifixion, often found in traditional Romanesque art and Picasso's creations from the 1930s; and the third is skulls. Ultimately, the objective of this show, organised with the Picasso Museum in Paris and including some 40 works, is not so much to seek out influences or a standard relationship but rather to identify 'possible affinities'.

    "I already knew that Picasso had a special relationship with Barcelona but I discovered the influences of medieval art on some of his works at this exhibition at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya."

  • Peter Hujar. Speed of Life.

    Peter Hujar. Speed of Life.

    Although the Fundación Mapfre opened its Barcelona exhibition venue (in the modernista building Casa Garriga i Nogués) in autumn 2015, it has already welcomed a stunning selection of artworks to this city centre site in its various shows to date: paintings by the likes of Renoir, Van Gogh and Matisse, and photos from Bruce Davidson and Hiroshi Sugimoto.
    Now it hosts the world premiere of a retrospective of US photographer Peter Hujar. For 30 years, he captured numerous images of New York City's creative community, of which he was a key figure; his black-and-white shots include friends like Susan Sontag and William Burroughs. Through his explorations of what such portraits could achieve, Hujar sought to reveal the truth of the person in front of the camera, and some of his most famous photos feature drag queen Candy Darling on her death bed. While he published just one book and died young, his singular images, of which some 160 are on show here, continue to captivate.

  • Picasso. Portraits

    Picasso. Portraits

    Arriving from a four-month run at London's National Portrait Gallery, where it was variously described by critics as 'must-see', 'lively and engrossing' and a celebration 'of his general greatness', this exhibition focuses on the Spanish artist's portrait work, one of the foundations of his career throughout his life but that went through constant change and evolution. It includes more than 80 artworks where the protagonists are Picasso's family, friends and lovers (while past explorations of his portraits tended to focus on women, this one features a good number of male as well as female subjects), and covers the numerous stages his creativity went through and the varied approaches he took to portraiture, such as realism, classical style and caricature. The show also explores Picasso's rejection of standard Western ideas of portrait, his reaction to the expanding art of photography, and how he was influenced, both as subject matter and technique, by the Old Masters.

  • Exhibition: Akram Zaatari. Against photography. An annotated history of the Arab Image Foundation

    Exhibition: Akram Zaatari. Against photography. An annotated history of the Arab Image Foundation

    Lebanese photographer and film-maker Akram Zaatari is one of the four creators of the Arab Image Foundation (AIF), an organisation set up in Beirut 20 years ago to archive photographic material from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab Diaspora. It's an ongoing project driven forward by artist and scholar-led undertakings; so far, it has collected some 600,000 images from countries including Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Mexico and Senegal. However, this show at the MACBA is not a history of the AIF or a celebration for its 20th anniversary (although it does look at how the AIF has evolved new practices of collecting photographs as an artist-led enterprise and its impact on wider society), but rather an exploration of photographic documents and their function in today's world from the perspective of one artist. Zaatari reflects on the different roles that a photo can play, whether it be for describing, remembering or simply looking appealing, while telling stories about people and society.

  • The Night of Museums

    The Night of Museums

    As the weather gets warmer and the nights become a more inviting time to be out and about, The Night of Museums is an excellent excuse to get an evening dose of culture. The concept is simple: one Saturday in May, the city's museums keep their doors open late into the night offering a different way to see the permanent and temporary exhibitions currently on show, as well as the chance to enjoy specially organised activities, such as family workshops, live performances and guided tours. It's actually a global event, one that started in Berlin in 1997 and is now celebrated in around 120 European cities. Here in Barcelona, the number of participating entities has grown significantly, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a museum that's not taking part. To make it easier to decide which ones to visit, check out the itineraries mapped out on the event website, which group together various institutions, providing an alternative late-night tour of the city.

    "The perfect excuse to enjoy a night time injection of culture until the early hours. A night when museums open for free so you can enjoy all kinds of special activities."

  • David Bowie Is

    David Bowie Is

    Almost 18 months since the sudden death of David Bowie, this acclaimed touring exhibition that delves deep into his career, artistic roots and achievements touches down in Barcelona. It was inaugurated in 2013 at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, with curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh given exclusive and extensive access to the musician's archive from which they selected 300 objects to tell a singular story about this man who was so influential and so meaningful for people around the world almost right from the start of his creative endeavours. The exhibition explores the way Bowie originated and evolved his concepts, constantly changing his style, both in terms of performance and appearance, and always looking for fresh ways to embrace and enlighten audiences. The items on display include handwritten lyrics, original costumes, set designs, instruments and album artwork, many of them personal belongings that had not been shown in public before.

  • Mercat de Música Viva, Vic

    Mercat de Música Viva, Vic

    Every September, the beautiful central Catalan town of Vic hosts an extensive 'market of live music', aimed at giving both professionals and the public the chance to hear a wide range of different genres and discover up-and-coming acts, as they enjoy four days of concerts and related activities. A lot of the focus is on bands from Catalonia, Spain and the Mediterranean area, but musicians from other places can also be found on the programme. Performances, some of which are free, are given across the city at venues both indoors and out, including the emblematic Plaça Major, and throughout the event, the streets will be filled with buskers, adding to the musical extravaganza taking place. While there, it's also worth taking the time to explore Vic, a place rich with history, from the Roman temple to the cathedral, ecclesiastical museum, and medieval and modernista buildings. And don't forget to try the local gastronomic speciality, cured meats.

    "Vic is a beautiful town near Barcelona. A friend took me to explore this music festival and while I was there I sampled the local cured sausage and now I feel like a local."

  • Festival of La Mercè

    Festival of La Mercè

    Barcelona celebrates the end of summer with a city festival to honour one of its patron saints, La Mercè, whose feast day is September 24. It's a huge party with many free activities for all ages that take place across the city.
    Among the most popular are the procession of 'giants' and 'big heads', elaborate papier-mâché constructions that represent both historical characters and fantastical beasts, the display of castellers ('human towers') in front of City Hall, and the correfoc, which literally means 'fire run' and sees demons with firecrackers dancing with well-protected members of the public under their showers of sparks.
    There are also concerts, audiovisual shows and contributions from a guest city, this year Reykjavík.
    Featuring at BAM this year are performances by the bands Reykjavíkurdætur, Grísalappalísa and Samarios. There is also the piano music of Kiasmos, the young singer Glowie and several other artists including Emmsjé Gauti, JFDR and Ólöf Arnalds.
    Ciutadella Park hosts numerous events including theatre and dance shows.
    At night, fireworks fill the sky with fabulous pyrotechnic displays befitting such an important fixture on the Barcelona calendar.

    "The city pulls out all the stops to celebrate the festival dedicated to one of its patron saints. Hundreds of free activities all over the city blending tradition and the latest trends. You'll be able to see gegants and capgrossos as well as concerts by the latest big names."

  • Agon! The competition in ancient Greece

    Agon! The competition in ancient Greece

    Hundreds of years after the Ancient Greek period ended, we're still as fascinated as ever with the extraordinary exploits, developments and legends of that time. The literature, sport and theatre, not to mention the political systems and philosophy, continue to resonate today along with many other of its facets. The British Museum in London is renowned as a holder of myriad artefacts dating from the 1,500 years or so that the Ancient Greek period lasted, and Barcelona's CaixaForum cultural organisation has reached an agreement with the museum for the display of a selection of those artefacts both here and at some of its other sites around Spain. Specifically, the exhibition will explore the world of Ancient Greece through the subjects of competition and rivalry. It will cover themes such as the polis (‘city states'), war and the origins of the Olympic Games via pieces such as those from the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos, which are shown outside London for the first time.

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