Barcelona Contemporary Art Museum (MACBA) broadens its horizons with new exhibition spaces and services
The Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA) is expanding into the nearby Àngels Square in the heart of the historic neighbourhood Raval. On 17th July the museum unveiled the details of its future plans, which are designed to increase the flow of visitors to the art centre. These include increased exhibition spaces and the expansion of the existing MACBA Study Centre. The project is estimated to cost a total of €2 million, 1.5 million of which will be provided by Barcelona City Council, and it is hoped that this will increase the number of visitors to the museum by 15% per year.
Barcelona (ACN.)- The Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA) is expanding into the nearby Àngels Square, which has been described as a "creative meeting place" and is situated in the heart of the historic neighbourhood Raval. On 17th July the museum announced its future plans which are designed to increase the flow of visitors to the art centre. These plans include changes such as: the use of the Àngels Convent and its chapel to host three new exhibition spaces, the expansion of the existing MACBA Study Centre and Archive, the creation of new access points and the construction of a new museum café and restaurant. The operation is estimated to cost a total of €2 million, 1.5 million of which will be provided by Barcelona City Council. MACBA hopes that this will increase the number of visitors to the museum by 15% per year.
MACBA will invest €2 million in a project which will see an expansion of the contemporary art museum into the nearby Àngels Square. This operation will include three new exhibition room: two at Àngels Convent and one within the adjoining former chapel. The museum was granted the extra space by the City Council last year after Barcelona´s Art and Design Foundation FAD moved to the Design Museum of Barcelona, DHUB, in Glòries Square.
These changes will take effect as of the 9th of September, when MACBA will open its first exhibition in the new space entitled ´Nonument´, which will be held in one of the exhibition rooms at the convent. Later, in November, the chapel will launch its first exhibition dedicated to the Israeli artist Sigalit Landau. In addition,it is hoped that the demolition of the structure which lies at the entrance of the chapel will make way for the creation of a new focus point for the visitor upon entering the square.
The other significant change is the expansion and redefinition of the Study and Documentation Centre, which is currently situated at the back of the square, near the entrance of the museum. The centre will expand by 1,500 square meters and will feature a new media library in the ground floor. Moreover, from 2015 the building will have a new entrance which will be accessed from a different square (Plaça de les Caramelles), in order to help further "tackle the run down areas" in this neighbourhood.
The circular Meier building, located near the entrance of the museum, will also be subject to some changes. It will incorporate a large access door which will give a complete view of the lobby. As of November the museum shop will also move to the lobby, and in its place a café-restaurant will be built for use from April 2015, slightly expanding the current space.
The provision of the new spaces and the changes to the existing rooms are designed to allow the museum to "emphasise its relationship with the urban space ". For example, the artwork ´The Great Glass´, the mural dedicated to American artist Keith Haring, the passage which separates the Contemporary Cultural Centre of Barcelona (the CCCB) and the MACBA, and the new exhibition spaces are elements of the museum that will be in constant contact with the square.
An ambitious estimate of growth
The Director of MACBA, Bartomeu Marí, stated that the goal of all these changes is to get a "new audience". The project hopes to expand the number of annual visitors by 15%, a considerable growth which the museum´s staff are confident they can achieve. "We are not waiting for an increase of visitors to make changes, but we are making the changes to get more people coming to the museum", Marí explained.
According to this logic, the increase in visitors, and the consequent rise in the visitors´ spending within the museum, will create more funds to invest in new projects, which in turn will attract even more visitors. In this way the museum hopes to increase its exposition budget by €200,000 by the end of 2014, with an increased total budget of €300,000 in the coming year.
A "step forward" for Raval, says Barcelona Mayor
The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, called these proposed changes a "step forward" for the museum and the Raval neighbourhood. He has attributed the fact that the proposed changes "now almost seem normal" to the great effort that has been put into the project which is "an important new approach designed to give Ravel a greater cultural significance". Indeed, the Mayor defended the changes by stating that "few cities in the world have within so little space the high number of cultural centres that Raval has".
The president of the MACBA Consortium, Leopoldo Rodés, also commented that proposed changes to the museum is "great news", not only for the increased exhibition space but also for the positive impact it will have on the neighbourhood in which it is located.
Rodés commented on the importance of MACBA in the context of contemporary art museums. "At the moment the museum has 6,000 pieces. A few years ago it was already said that Barcelona had one of the best collections of contemporary art in Europe" he said. Therefore, the current collection is already more complete than a few years ago and Rodés believes it will continue to improve with the new changes.