Art in Barcelona: Japan Weekend

Apart from fine art, I love comics and nerd culture. My manga/anime/cosplay loving students momma invited me to go with them to Japan Weekend this past 10th March. I had never been to a cosplay event before and I loved this so much! The costumes were amazing and it was wonderful to see the enthusiasm of so many young people in a queer-friendly space.

When thinking about Japan, I think a lot about ukiyo-e prints. Unfortunately, there were only 3 stalls with prints and Japanese products that were not based on anime, k-pop or other nerdy references. But, that is my only complaint.

The cosplay catwalk was a highlight. People put some serious work into their costumes, weapons and presentations. I have been thinking about making some wearable sculptures using a techniques I used to create an installation a few years back and seeing some these kids has made me more determined to create.

Art in Barcelona: Gallery Walk March 2019

With so many art galleries in Barcelona, it is easy to miss some great art. Art Barcelona (Abe) , an association of galleries, work to increase access and interest in the contemporary art scene in the Catalan capital.

Several times a year Abe organizes gallery walks. The first I have attended this year has been 9 March with a tour around the galleries in the Eixample, around Enric Granados. The tour was conducted in Spanish with the option of Catalan. Some galleries did not have information in English but even if you are not confident in Spanish, it can see be an excellent experience.

The 4 galleries we visited were:

  • Pigment GalleryColonitzades, by Marta Fàbregas. The artist was present and spoke to us about her process and inspiration. She was wonderfully generous.

  • Galeria MarlboroughLouise Bourgeois' Prints. Anatomy of an Artist.. Hopefully you know who Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) is! She was a prolific artist who was the second woman to have a retrospective at the MoMA in New York. One of her giant spider sculptures is outside of the Guggenheim Bilbao. This exposition presented some of her prints. I was more familiar with her sculptures so this was a treat to see her versatility.

  • ADN GaleriaY la tierra será el paraíso , by Domènec. This show called attention to the relationship between people and architecture through uncovering the history of buildings. This reminded me a lot of a show I saw at the Wellcome Collection in London in October 2018 called Living with Buildings.

  • Victor Lope Arte Contemporáneo: Realisms. This is a great group show. Victor Lope was on hand to help with the tour and was very generous when answering our questions. Please check out the group show link to learn about the artists.

We finished with a lovely drink from BCN Gin. Yumm

To join a gallery walk, check out this link to follow Abe and purchase tickets (14 EUR only!).

Art in Barcelona: Berenice Abbott at the Fundación Mapfre

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Just off of the Rambla de Catalunya, the Fundación Mapfre, in the stunning Casa Garriga Nogúes. has put together another excellent photography exhibit, elevating once again, the art that we can see here in Barcelona. From 20th of February to 19th of May, the Casa Garriga Nogués is home to the works of Berenice Abbott (1898)-1991), as well as some pieces by the french photographer Eugéne Atget (1857-1927).

I have been to a number of exhibitions here before but I always enjoy walking into this elegant old building and well conceived gallery. The exhibition is extended across two floors that are organized logically without too many surprises.

We get to know the artists in the first room through self-portraits and her portraits of contemporaries. . The artist’s cartoonishly abstracted face in Self-Portrait-Distortion from 1930. is one of the first pieces we see Among the portraits, Abbott took pictures of Peggy Guggenheim (the famous art collector), James Joyce (the Irish novelist) and Sylvia Beach (owner of Shakespear and Company) among others. Many of her models make an appearance in Ernest Hemingway’s The Moveable Feast which I just happened to have read earlier in the week and could be found in the gift shop. In the middle of the room of portraits are two of Eugéne Atget whose influence is highlighted later in the exhibition.

The next room included over 20 photographs of the city of New York where she lived after Paris.Her cityscapes served to show the city in transition as she shows what was gained as well as what was lost as the city grew. Construction Old and New from Washington St. 1936 is a great example of this.

After moving upstairs, the first room includes more photographs of New York and its boroughs. A small room to the side shows Eugéne Atget’s work. A documentary photographer, Atget documented industrialization’s effect on Paris but was not considered to have gone beyond the role of a documentarian even though he was well respected by Man Ray who Abbott worked for.. It is nice to see Atget’s work as a counterpoint to Abbot’s cityscapes and street photography that comes later in the visit.

Abbott took many photographs of objects in motion and illustrative images for the dissemination of scientific education. The final room includes disappointingly few of her scientific works. I would have loved to have seen many more of these as it was unusual at the time to see a woman working as an editor of scientific publications.

As usual the Fundación Mapfre consolidated a lovely group of works and showed them in such a way that it was a pleasure to spend an hour exploring Abbott’s work in detail. The grey walls and forest green accents did not tire the eyes and the wall texts was concise and informative.


 

Fundación Mapfre

Casa Garriga Nogués

C/ Diputació, 250

08007 Barcelona

Opening Times

Mondays: 2pm to 8pm (free entry!)

Tuesday-Saturdays: 10am to 8pm

Sundays and holidays: 11am-7pm

Don’t expect access during lunch hours or less than 30 minutes before closing.

Tickets

General 3 EUR

Reduced 2 EUR

Website where you can buy tickets, learn about guided tours and other events.


Source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/265232