A year of plural art

A new season of exhibitions has begun, with variety being a big feature as many of the leading art venues attempt to find ways around ever stricter budget restrictions

What could be the exhibition of the year is CaixaForum’s Vampires The Tàpies Foundation is celebrating its 30th anniversary

Catalonia’s national art gallery, MNAC, will soon begin its long-awaited expansion. However, in 2020 it will have to continue to do the excellent job it does in making the most of its existing facilities. Among the exhibitions programmed this year is ’Nonell entre tradicions. De Goya a Picasso’, which runs from May 14 to September 13, and which will tackle one of the heavy hitters of Catalan art: Isidre Nonell. Yet, the exhibition will approach his work from a different angle, through the influences he absorbed and he himself had on other artists.

Catalonia’s main gallery will also begin a new dialogue between its historic collections and the art of today, with painter Oriol Vilapuig, whose intervention ’Son. Empremtes de les valls d’Àneu’ will run from March 12 to September 30.

The end of MNAC’s season will also be powerful, with a display of the mural paintings from the Herrera Chapel by Annibale Carracci that have been reunited after years dispersed throughout the MNAC and El Prado national galleries. The historic artworks can be seen as a group from October 24 to January 24. Meanwhile, from November 20 to January 17, there is the ceramics exhibition ’De Hamada a Artigas. Els colors del foc’, which evokes the relationship between these two masters of clay and their respective Japanese and Catalan cultures.

Barcelona’s contemporary art gallery, Macba, also has a number of interesting proposals for the 2020 season, although its entire programme has not yet been made public. ’Acció. Una història provisional dels noranta’ (Action. A Provisional History of the Nineties) runs from April 3 to January 27, and delves into the revival of conceptual art following the return to conventional formats of painting and sculpture in the eighties. A new generation of artists revisited the practices of the sixties and seventies, becoming precursors for the likes of Fina Miralles, who this year will finally have an exhibition at Macba (from May 15 to November 1) devoted to her life and work.

There are also some gaps in the Picasso Museum’s 2020 programme, although one exhibition announced so far is ’Picasso i les joies d’artista’ (Picasso and the Artist’s Jewellery), from May 8 to September 13, which will focus on a lesser known part of his work, his jewellery; as always with Picasso, it constitutes more than just ornament.

As for CaixaForum, the season kicked off with ’Objectes de desig. Surrealisme i disseny 1924-2020’ (Objects of Desire. Surrealism and design 1924-2020), which began in February and runs until June 7. The exhibition brings us fantastical creations by the likes of Salvador Dalí, Björk, Marcel Duchamp and Meret Oppenheim. Meanwhile, in spring, the institution’s alliance with Spain’s El Prado national gallery bears fruit with the exhibition ’Art i mite. Els déus d’El Prado’ (Art and Myth. The Gods of El Prado). Running from April 15 to August 26, it provides a Greco-Latin mythological feast with paintings by Rubens, Ribera and Zurbarán, among others. Yet, what could well turn out to be the exhibition of the year, or at least one of the most popular, is ’Vampirs. L’evolució del mite’ (Vampires. The Evolution of the Myth), which will explain the obsession with these monsters in culture from July 8 to October 25.

The Miró Foundation began the year with artist Antoni Llena selecting 150 Miró drawings for display in an exhibition that will run until June 7, continuing with militant feminism in ’No em sents’ (You Don’t Hear Me), which between March 20 and September 29 features the work of Indian artist Nalini Malani, who won the 2019 Joan Miró Prize. The foundation’s year will come to a close in the autumn with an exhibition on sculpture curated by sculptor David Bestué, with work from the likes of Eva Hesse, Constantin Brancusi and Susana Solano.

South African William Kentridge will be the focus at Barcelona’s centre of contemporary culture, the CCCB, from June 10 until November 22, while ’Mart: el mirall vermell’ (Mars. The Red Mirror) looks at the Red Planet from different approaches and disciplines to reflect on humanity’s future from November 24 to April 25.

La Pedrera hosts the work of two key figures: New York photographer William Klein, who was a pioneer of street photography, from March 6 to July 5, and Valencian sculptor Andreu Alfaro, who died in 2012.

Klein will not be only the photographer on show this year, as photography continues to gain ever more ground, and especially this year as the Mapfre Foundation in June begins its new phase as a centre exclusively dedicated to photography in its building in the towers on Barcelona’s seafront. However, before that, and until May 17 in its current HQ, the modernist Casa Garriga Nogués, we can find an exhibition of photography by Carlos Pérez Siquier, winner of the National Photography Prize in 2003. The new site will open with two simultaneous exhibitions: on Bill Brandt, one of the fathers of modern photography, and on Paul Strand, another major reference point in the history of the discipline. Following them on October 22 will be a retrospective of Garry Winogrand, who revolutionised documentary photography, and a display from MNAC’s archive.

More photography is to be found at the Foto Colectania Foundation, which between March 12 and June 21 will show off the work of Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, winner of the Hasselblad Award, photography’s Nobel Prize.

The Virreina Centre of the Image has yet more photography in a season that kicks off on March 14 with an exhibition on American writer Susan Sontag’s book On Photography, which runs until May 17. From March to September it is the turn of lesbian film pioneer Barbara Hammer, with the exhibition ’Sisters!’, while ’Les filles de la vergonya’ (The Daughters of Shame) begins in May, an investigation into sexual dissidence in Spain’s former colonies. Manolo Laguillo, a leading figure in Spanish documentary photography, has an exhibition between June and October, with the talent of Catalan photographer Tanit Plana on display between September and October. Exhibitions on filmmaker Pedro Costa and painter Hélios Gómez (both October to January) bring to an end what is an anniversary year for the centre, which is celebrating 40 years of showcasing contemporary art.

The Tàpies Foundation is also celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and is planning a big exhibition of its founder’s work for the summer. However, before that comes ’Antoni Tàpies. L’àcid és el meu ganivet’ (Antoni Tàpies. Acid is My Knife), which focuses on the artist’s experiments in the field of printmaking and will be running until May 24.


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