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Good News For Art

Barcelona Gallery Weekend

By Alexandra Laudo [Heroínas de la Cultura] 01.10.15

Historically the relationship between Barcelona residents and the city’s galleries has been for the most part similar to their relationship with its hotels: they have considered them as being directed at gallery clients and so consequently have stayed away. In cities such as London or New York locals often go to hotels for brunch, to have dinner or enjoy a Gin & Tonic and take to the dance floor in the same way that they drop by the galleries without necessarily being collectors. Within these cities art galleries are well integrated with the overall cultural agenda, without being over subscribed either, allowing citizens with certain intellectual and visual inquisitiveness to visit them to take in smaller scale  exhibitions by established artists, or a talk given by an up-and-coming artist or indeed to purchase a piece of art. And it is certainly true that many of the works exhibited are simply beyond the reach of most people but then again there a lot of people who would think nothing of purchasing a giant plasma TV screen, or a cruise holiday or a leather handbag but would baulk at the idea buying a photograph, a modest collage or a video-installation. 

For some years now Barcelona galleries have been trying to narrow this gap with the locals through thought provoking initiatives, but perhaps this latest effort, the Barcelona Gallery Weekend, makes for a more concerted effort in this direction. This project, promoted by Art Barcelona (association of contemporary art galleries), came about not only through the desire to highlight the role of galleries as active cultural agents in the city but also undoubtedly to stimulate an art market greatly affected by the recession, largely because of the impending expiration of the law that protected urban property leases. 

Over four days, from the 1st through the 4th of October, more than 20 galleries will present the best of their exhibition programmes, a rich and varied offering that includes classic artists such as  Fausto Melotti and Alberto Magnelli (Galeria Marc Domènech) or Torres Garcia (Sala Dalmau), and reputable contemporary artists like Mladen Stilinović (Nogueras Blanchard) and Matt Mullican (ProjecteSD), as well as renowned national artists like Perejaume (Galeria Joan Prats), Antoni Llena (Galeria A/34) and the young Francesc Ruiz (Galeria Estrany - de la Mota).

  • Barcelona Gallery Weekend

    Mladen Stilinovic, "White Absence. Sat - nula (clock - zero)", 1990. Courtesy of Nogueras Blanchard.

  • Barcelona Gallery Weekend

    Matt Mullican, "Books Representing Books", view of the exhibition in Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz, Germany, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Mai 36, Zurich. ©Kunsthalle Mainz. Photography: Norbert Migueletz.

    There will also be space for a new generation of artists, including local artists like Lucía C. Pino (Ana Mas Projects) and Diego Pujal (Galeria Balaguer) among others, and foreign artists such as Richard T. Walker (Galeria Àngels Barcelona) and Bouchra Khalili (ADN Galeria), just to name a few. Among the highlights the Matt Madden exhibition (EtHall) should also be mentioned, a regular cartoonist with The New Yorker and The New York Times, and the Barcelona chapter of Alrededor del sueño (Galeria Trama), an on-going project by Ángel Marcos in which the photographer documents the effects of urban globalisation within different cities. In addition to these solo exhibitions there will also be some group shows such as the inaugural one which will take place at the new Carles Taché gallery featuring international artists such as Cornelia Parker, Antoine d’Agata and Tony Cragg.

    Added to this offering from the galleries a number of the city’s most representative museums and art centres will be also be making a contribution to the initiative by programming special activities and adapting their opening hours, together with several independent art projects like The Green Parrot, Homesession, Bar Project and Passatge, who have also signed up with this venture. Guided art tours have also been organised in different areas of the city, talks with artists and collectors, visits to artists’ workshops and an opening party will be held on the first of October at the MACBA Plaza, which will mark the commencement  for this weekend long gallery event.

    The most important contribution however to this first edition could well be the programme of activities curated by the Latitudes team (Mariana Cánepa and Max Andrews), who under the working title Composiciones will be presenting site-specific works from six artists (Dora García, Jordi Mitjà, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Rasmus Nilausen, Pere Llobera and David Bestué) within unique exhibition spaces around the city, like the Umbracle of the Ciutadella park, a library at Barceloona’s Campo Freudiano and the old Cosme Toda factory in Hospitalet de Llobregat, many of which are not normally open to public access.

  • Dora García Barcelona Gallery Weekend

    Dora García, "Exhausted Books", 2013. Bergen Triennale "Monday Begins on Saturday". Courtesy of the artist.

  • Daniel Steegmann Barcelona Gallery Weekend

    Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, "Elegancia y renuncia", 2011. View of the exhibition at CRAC Alsace, Altkirch, France, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

    The Barcelona Gallery week is one of the most important events on the city’s art season, the start of which has moved progressively from September to October reflecting the tendency for the summer holidays to escape from their traditional August confines. In June we had the Art Nou project involving a selection of young and emerging artists being exhibited at the city’s galleries which marked the last important arts event before the holidays. Both projects represent a firm commitment on the part of Art Barcelona to consolidate the city’s galleries on its cultural agenda and to position them in on the international art market. Good news for art, is the clarion call for the Barcelona Gallery Weekend. Good news both for art as well as for anyone interested in it.

  • ADN Galería. View of the exhibition by Mounir Fatmi, Light & Fire, 2014-2015, ©Roberto Ruiz

  • ProjecteSD. View of the exhibition "Map, Record, Picture, Sculpture. Patricia Dauder, Guillaume Leblon, Helen Mirra, Christoph Weber", 2013.

  • View of Galería Joan Prats.