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A short century: MACBA Collection

Venue: MACBA
Plaça dels Àngels, 1
08001 Barcelona
Exhibition

This new display offers a chronological path through the MACBA Collection from 1929 to the present. In 1929 Barcelona hosted the International Exposition. Mies van der Rohe, in collaboration with Lilly Reich, designed the German Pavilion or ‘Barcelona Pavilion’. On the initiative of Josep lluís Sert and Josep Torres i Clavé, the GATCPAC (Group of Catalan Architects and Technicians for the Progress of Contemporary Architecture) was founded. André Breton wrote the Second Surrealist Manifesto. In Paris, a group of abstract artists led by Joaquín Torres-García and Michel Seuphor, founded Cercle et Carré. The same year, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) opened in New York and Virginia Woolf published her feminist essay A Room of One’s Own. This is the cultural context that initiates the new presentation. It includes many key works in a series of rooms devoted to emblematic moments or decades. Curated by the MACBA team, special attention is given to the changing presentations and experiences of art through these nine decades or ‘short century’.

The presentation is designed to tell the history of modern and contemporary art through the particular perspectives, politics and themes developed in the MACBA Collection since its inception. It is also a history presented specifically from the perspective of Barcelona. Thus dates such as 1929, and the chapters shown thereafter, are rooted in the city. The Barcelona Pavilion, an emblem of international utopian modernism was itself the reason for a visit to Barcelona by the Bauhaus artists Josef and Anni Albers. The transformation of the city and its engagement with modernisation is examined in dialogue with the work of early modernists Alexander Calder, Joaquin Torres-Garcia and Alberto, among others.