Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 205 - MACBA and Art from the 1950s Onwards

I woke up late today, but I only planned on seeing a couple museums - the MACBA (Museu D'art Contemporani De Barcelona) and Gaudi's La Pedrera. In the end, I was only able to see the MACBA exhibition since I came too late to the La Pedrera. Oh well, I'll see it tomorrow...

The MACBA was really interesting though. Most of the artwork in the museum was from the 1950s to the present and the main exhibition sort of explained the paradigm shift in the style of art from seeing art as an audience through paintings, to the use of different media, textures, space, and sound to engage the audience in the art itself and to view art more as a process than the final product itself.

I think it was probably one of the very few times I went through an exhibition with a guide, but it made such a difference. Even just reading a guidebook or listening to an audio guide can be confusing and/or pretentious when explaining the meaning behind some artwork, but the guide today was great at really explaining things in laymans terms. Instead of just trying to look at abstract art blindly, I got a greater understanding about the situation going on in each other artists' lives during the time they created their artwork, and that makes a huge difference in trying to interpret some of the abstract art that is presented in front of you. A lot of the messages these artists convey have a lot to do with the political, economic, and cultural statuses of the times. And I sometimes devalued art that wasn't the traditional art I was used to seeing because it was so hard to decipher, but I've come to appreciate it more thanks to the insight I received today. A work of art doesn't have to look like it took forever to create through brush strokes, but maybe can be understood in the time it took to plan the creation itself, even if it doesn't look like much to the naked eye.

We went from seeing artwork by Lucio Fontana, whose paintings marked the beginning of this paradigm shift when he started using not only the paint, but the canvas itself as a tool of expression by slashing through it, to John Cage, who experimented with silence being considered art and music, to Oyvind Fahlstrom, who created exhibitions that forced the viewer to become a participant in the piece by having them move around the space to explore the messages conveyed. We saw artwork that was made for dogs (Dieter Roth/Richard Hamilton) to an art piece of decaying chocolate that is the antithesis of what people believe an art piece should be - something expensive, lasting forever, and unchanging. There was a section of pop art and another section of the renaissance of painting in the 1980s, where artists like Miguel Barcelo created "still-life" paintings that consisted of darker subjects and colors. Overall, it was a very informative introduction to modern art. I wished I could stay for the tour of the 1980s to the present, where a lot more of the art was about space and sound, but I was getting a bit restless...

Since it was too late to visit La Pedrera, I headed back to the hostel, where they had a "How to Make Sangria" class, which really was just us watching them make pots and pots of sangria for us to drink. Ten drinks later, I was tipsy...and they still wanted to go ou


Sangria Night

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