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Madrid's must-see art exhibitions

Paintings, photography, sculpture... these are the art exhibitions you won't want to miss in Madrid's museums and galleries

©Fundación Canal

Calling all lovers of painting, photography, sculpture, and art in general: this is your selection of art collections, exhibitions and shows on in Madrid's museums, galleries and cultural centres. Whether they're on for just a few weeks or you have months to check them out, don't miss these top art exhibitions in the city.

Barbie. More than just a doll

Take a look at Barbie through the ages, via a collection of 438 pieces that illustrate unknown and surprising facets of the first doll that looked like a woman. Barbie was born in 1959, marking the first time girls would no longer only play at being mommies to babies. Barbie's motto 'I can be' inspired girls to imagine themselves doing whatever they wanted, taking on often unreachable roles in society and teaching them that the only limits they have are those they create for themselves. For decades Barbie has represented values of gender equality, racial integration, respect for diversity, culture, friendship... And all this without forgetting she's still a doll, as well as a fashion icon and a figure of femininity.

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Fundación Canal de Isabel II , Plaza de Castilla Until Tuesday May 2 2017

Bruce Conner. It's All True

The Reina Sofía brings to Spain for the first time the work of one of the most relevant American artists of the late 20th century. This exhibition features more than 250 works that span the 50 years of the Kansas-born artist who established himself in San Francisco. Bruce Conner's work came out of the California art scene and addressed diverse questions concerning American society in the post-war era: from the burgeoning consumer culture to the dread of nuclear apocalypse. In his work he cultivated alternate mediums – now the hallmarks of 21st-century art – adopting different techniques and often creating hybrid pieces midway between painting and sculpture, film and performance, drawing and printing.

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Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía , Lavapiés Until Monday May 22 2017

Francis Bacon. La cuestión del dibujo

Francis Bacon said he didn't draw. Nevertheless, after his death in 1992 not only was his great talent for drawing discovered, but it was also uncovered that the British artist drew prolifically. And it's precisely on this facet of the artist that this exhibition at the Círculo de Bellas Artes focuses, bringing together drawings, pastels and collages that the owner of the collection, Cristiano Lovatelli Ravarino, received as a gift from Bacon himself between 1977 and 1992. The exhibition is organised across four different typologies according to what Bacon painted: popes, crucifixions, portraits and seated figures. The drawings in the exhibition, of great quality and technical execution, seem to belong to the last period of Bacon's artistic activity. They're creations made on the fly, with agility and precision, and from which reflection of his work and recurring themes emerge.

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Círculo de Bellas Artes , Centro Tuesday March 28 2017 - Sunday May 21 2017


The ABC Museum houses 1,141 works from the six decades of collaboration between Ricardo Summers e Isern with Prensa Española (Spanish Press). 'Serny', as this great Spanish painter and illustrator is known, started out as a cartoonist for magazines and newspapers and is considered one of the artists who made the Silver Age (1878-1936) possible. This was a period in recent Spanish history that stands out for its dynamism and cultural richness. Now an extensive sample of Serny's work is presented to convey to viewers the importance of his career, which was a success even during his own lifetime. 

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Museo ABC , Conde Duque Tuesday March 28 2017 - Sunday April 16 2017

Here we stand, Health and Freedom

Under the auspices of the Gypsy Cultural Institute comes this exhibition project that brings together works by some 20 contemporary artists, called 'Sastipen thaj Mestepen' ('Health and Freedom'), which is also a traditional greeting of the gypsy people. The gypsies are Europe's largest minority, and they live all across the continent. Currently between 10 and 15 million European citizens are gypsies, one million of whom live in Spain. Not all of them sing flamenco or beg for money at traffic lights, contrary to popular stereotype. In recent years, artists who belong to this minority group have been the driving force behind a movement where they express their emotions and thoughts via art, with the aim of therefore contributing to the enrichment of the cultural discourse of society.

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CentroCentro , Centro Tuesday March 28 2017 - Sunday April 9 2017

Donna Huanca. Lengua de Bartolina Sisa

This is the first exhibition in Spain by American artist Donna Huanca, who explores the territory of the human body in its double condition of surface and matter. Her work employs a cosmetic that has a lot of gestural painting and functions as an instrument for transformation. Performers painted from head to to move around in a trance-like state following a glacial choreography in her performances. Huanca resorts to aesthetic forms such as camouflage, simulation and fusion in a poetry that links painting, sculpture and performance art to represent the fragmentation of identity.

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Travesía Cuatro , Malasaña Tuesday March 28 2017 - Saturday April 29 2017