Art in Barcelona: must-see exhibitions

Art exhibitions you won't want to miss in Barcelona's museums and galleries

Calling all lovers of painting, photography, sculpture, and art in general: this is your Time Out selection of the best exhibitions on in Barcelona's museums and galleries.

Unseen. Jessica Lange

In 1967, Jessica Lange got a scholarship from the University of Minnesota to study photography, but the fickle fancies of student life led her to Spain and in Paris, where she decided to give preference to the dramatic arts rather than her practice behind the lens. It was then that she started her acting career, which led her to become a star in iconic films and to receive two Best Actress Oscars  for her performances in 'Tootsie' (1983) and 'Blue Sky' (1995). It wouldn't be until later, in the early 1990s (when Sam Shepard gave her a Leica M6), when Lange would pick up her passion for photography once again. She shot images along her travels: the United States, France, Finland and Italy are among the countries highlighted, though she showed a fondness for Mexico because of its 'lights and great nights'. This exhibition brings together 134 of Lange's photos from over the last 20 years, divided into two series: 'Things I See' and 'Mexico, On Scene'. A large part of these photos have never been shown on exhibition before and are seen here for the first time.

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Arts Santa Mònica Until Sunday June 28 2015 Free

Sophie Calle. Modus vivendi

Retrospective of the French artist that looks at her work from the mid-'80s to the present. Among the artist's diverse experiences over four decades, what's clear is her relationship with others and with herself – that is, her ability to observe others and herself. Her works are done in the first person. And her relationship with 'the other', with others, is also implicit in this search for beauty and art in its various aspects.

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Virreina Centre de la Imatge Until Sunday June 7 2015 Free

Picasso/Dalí. Dalí/Picasso

For the first time, work by two of the last century’s most brilliant artists is brought together. You can observe how, following their first meeting in Paris in 1926, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí echoed and challenged each other in their work. The show is produced with the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida (USA), where it was exhibited for four months from November 2014; Barcelona’s Museu Picasso is its only other venue. More than 80 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures are on display, many of them rarely seen in public before. The overlaps in the men's lives, such as a shared fidelity to surrealism, beg the question as to why we've never seen this exhibition until now.

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Museu Picasso Until Sunday June 28 2015

Leopoldo Pomés. Flashback

Leopoldo Pomés (Barcelona, 1931) is one of the undisputed talents in Catalan contemporary photography in the second half of the 20th century. Photographer, journalist, film-maker, artist, poet, entrepreneur and gourmet,  Pomés has shown a constant passion for imagery throughout his long career.  The exhibition, which features more than 100 works, carefully considers his vast creative universe, from his beginnings connected to the Dau al Set group to the present, reviewing his life and and works.

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La Pedrera Until Sunday July 12 2015

Maria Lassnig

Over a remarkable career that spanned seven decades, from the late 1940s at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, a city where she then taught in the 1980s, to the Paris art scene of the 1950s and 1960s, and New York in the 1970s, Austrian artist Maria Lassnig (1919-2014) created artworks that explored her body in a way that was both sensitive and vulnerable. Focusing on her self-portraits and exploration of the body and relationships with animal and machine, the exhibition at Fundació Antoni Tàpies presents works from 1942 to her last years, leaving aside the period of the 'isms', as Lassnig called them – surrealism, tachisme, informalism – as well as the German and Parisian influences of her formative years, to concentrate on works created starting from the 1970s and during her time in New York, when her concept of 'body awareness' reached its maximum expression, accompanied by her writings and animated films.

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Fundació Antoni Tàpies Until Sunday May 31 2015


An ancient stone and a bullet from 1941. The disconcerting piece by Jimmie Durham, 'The History of Europe', which takes away the shame of an alleged identity of the continent, welcomes this impressive exhibition about the disappointment of the European project. The Greek myth is updated, and in this new here and now are the men in black of the Troika who have kidnapped (the idea of) Europe.The Old Continent is in trouble: a powerful economic, political and social crisis ravages the territory and shakes the structures of the present system. The dream is over. 'Blinda' by Jorge García, refers to the walls that have been erected on a recurring basis (from classical Greece to Ceuta and Melilla). On giant rolls of yarn rests the slogan 'Post Optimismos' in neon letters. And regarding the fallacy of the free movement of people, enter Mateo Maté and his sculptural space 'Área restringida (Europa)'.'Prophetia' offers no hopeful answers, no miraculous prescriptions in the face of uncertainty, but rather a direct and blunt reading of the weaknesses and failures of the Union. In 'Las diez y diez', Pelayo Varela has written several fragments of the Charter of Fundamental Rights on the wall. Above that he has built the mechanism of a clock with hands that are so sharp that, as time passes, they scratch and erase each of the words: what once was agreed democratically fades into the past.Throughout the 20-piece exhibition at the Miró Foundation, curated by Imma Prieto, you can feel the lack

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Fundació Joan Miró Until Sunday June 7 2015

Italia. I sei sensi

If I were Italian and had to choose a city to live in, I wouldn't miss a beat choosing Barcelona. Not Rome, not Naples, not Milan, not Florence. Barcelona. It's like being in Italy without all the inconveniences of living in Italy. I'd go have lunch at the Antico Borgo Napoletano, I'd buy Italian design at Vinçon, and afterwards I'd walk a few metres to the Fundació Suñol, where there's an exhibition of Italian art collections. Let's pause here, at 'Italia. I sei sensi', the six senses that lend their name to the title of the exhibition and a work by Alighiero Boetti: pure meticulous gestures to cover an area of pen strokes and the name of the five senses. And the sixth? Thought! Everything exists in the mind. Here's where we set the clichés aside. Let's not speak of the usual Italian sensuality, say nothing of elegance or Arte Povera, not a word about the bright lightness of the transavantguarde... You can see the whole exhibition in less than half an hour. (read more)

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Fundació Suñol Until Saturday January 9 2016

Teatre proletari de cambra

With just three novels published in his life, Osvaldo Lamborghini (Buenos Aires 1940 – Barcelona 1985) is considered one of the most singular writers in contemporary Argentinean literature. The MACBA dedicates this exhibition (whose title translates to 'Proletarian Chamber Theatre') to him with a selection of his artwork, which until now has remained in his personal archives and never been shown to the public.

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MACBA. Museu d'Art Contemporani Until Sunday September 6 2015

The Immaterial Legacy

Ah, the '80s, the age of disenchantment. After Kennedy and Pope John XXII,  it was Reagan, John Paul II and the punks. And after the death of the bogeyman, the dictator Francisco Franco, Spain witnessed the birth of modern artistic and cultural institutions. Artists who had once criticised the system would no longer lift a finger without some kind of subsidy…  But the MACBA sees it differently. The collection is the home country, in the form of a handy Kleenex, used in a provocative revision of history. It’s a history with a revolutionary backdrop, in which the working classes armed themselves with dance music, Basque rock, fanzines and appropriation. Organised around familiar themes like 'the sacred and the profane' and 'the body and its inverse', the works on show form the basis of lengthy essays. You can read them or not. And this changes the effect. Carlos Pazos’s installation could be a jumble of references, or a secret semiotic drama, and Humberto Rivas’s photographs of the drag artist Violeta la Burra, a violation of the social norms of the body. (read more)

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MACBA. Museu d'Art Contemporani Until Monday June 1 2015