September 5, 2008

MNAC. With a view!

Thursday after moving into my new abode and unpacking (not that one really has much to unpack when they are staying somewhere for under three months) I made my way down to the MNAC (Musuem of National Art of Catalunya). I had looked on a map before going and when I got down there after coming out of the Metro, got my bearings fairly quickly and turned and walked in the direction of the museum.

The area that the MNAC is located is called Montjuic, which is the pretty big mountain along the sea here in Barcelona. I have not been to the top yet where there is a castle and also the Miró Museum but it has definitely found its way into some of my photos (most from Parc Guell the other day). Upon walking towards where I thought was the museum I spied this enormous castle-looking building set atop a hill (see first photo above). It was set so perfectly and symmetrically and the more I got close to it, the clearer my pictures were. I had somehow, from looking at the map as well as following signs along the curving road, had decided that MNAC was on the other side of this building. I found myself walking up the winding road and ended up asking (what I didn’t know were) Irish tourists (in Spanish) if they knew where the museum was. They didn’t speak Spanish (which was funny as it was the first time I had used it and had someone NOT understand me because they didn’t know the language) and then we all figured out we spoke English and found out that the museum had been none other than that huge castle-like building I had feverishly been taking photos of. Whoops! I also must say that for such an old building it has quite a fresh logo; just another example of the intertwining of the old art to the new that I have come to love so much here in Barcelona

Retracing my steps (which was only about 15 minutes out of my way) I climbed the many stairs to this castle of a museum and went inside. I made it there at a little after 5 in the afternoon and decided that I would not be able to see the permanent collection by the time the museum closed its doors at 7 so decided to just attack the exhibit on view temporarily and would come back and see the remainder of the museum. From what I have heard, MNAC’s permanent collection is equivalent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC; definitely can’t do the whole thing in one day!

The temporary exhibit on view until the end of September is “Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia” and what an exhibit! I knew little of these three artists to begin with and then topped with the fact that I had no idea they were not only artists but friends with each other, made this exhibit a great art learning experience. The exhibit was curated in chronological order from the beginning of their careers to the ends and in each section the viewer learns through seeing the works by the three artists side-by-side that they had great influence on each other when it came to subjects and materials. I especially liked this exhibit because during the week in Spanish class I had learned three of the past tenses of verbs and now a whole world of reading had been opened up to me! Words that before I had had no idea what they meant (for example, the Spanish word for ‘he walked’ instead of ‘he walks’) had been unlocked and I could actually read the blurbs next to the works of art. Well, for the most part, some were still locked to me as I had to keep a running list of words to look up in my Spanish/English dictionary when I got home.

After I finished wandering around the museum I exited out the front door to be greeted by an incredible view down past the steps of the museum and the sounds of a man playing the electric guitar with Spanish flair. The whole experience seemed too good to pass up, so considering I was in no hurry to get away (as seems to be the case here in Barcelona; unless I am on my way to class in the morning!) I decided to sit on the stone steps and take it all in along with the other museum-goers who also decided that there was no better way to spend an early Thursday evening in September.

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