Since its inauguration in 1995, the MACBA has transformed itself into a power player on the city’s contemporary arts scene. Its library/study centre and auditorium host an extensive programme that includes accessibly priced (or free) concerts, conferences and cinema, while two floors of exhibition rooms offer a spacious showcase for large-scale installations and exhaustive, multidisciplinary shows. La Capella, a former medieval convent across the square, is free to enter, and provides a project space for specially commissioned works.
The permanent collection sits on the ground floor of the main building, and is rooted in the second half of the 20th century. Media, sound and performance art experimentalists of the 1960s and 1970s, including Bruce Nauman, Joan Jonas and John Cage, are well represented, as are Spanish and Catalan artists such as Antoni Muntadas, Antoni Tàpies and the Dau al Set group.
Temporary shows take the form of highly ambitious research projects. Smaller-scale shows can be delightfully offbeat, such as that dedicated to Düsseldorf-based gallery owner Konrad Fischer, who gave Sol LeWitt and Dan Flavin their first shows in Europe. Others showcase low-key artists, particularly locals, with equal enthusiasm.
Late June-Sept 24 Mon, Wed, Thur 11am-8pm; Fri 11am-10pm; Sat 10am-10pm; Sun 10am-3pm. Late Sept-June 23 Mon, Wed-Fri 11am-7.30pm; Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 10am-3pm. Guided tours in English Mon 6pm.
Permanent & temporary exhibitions €8; €6.50 reductions. Temporary exhibitions €6; €4.50 reductions. The MACBA offers €12 passes, offering unlimited visits over a 12-month period.