Located in the vibrant El Raval neighborhood, the MACBA is Barcelona’s premier center for contemporary art and is renowned for its cutting-edge exhibitions – and its fair share of controversy, including the resignation of the museum director over a recent exhibition featuring a sexually explicit depiction of Spain’s former King Juan Carlos. This season, the museum pays tribute to Catalan artist Antoni Miralda, who has been heralded by some in the art world as one of the most innovative and versatile Spanish artists of the past 40 years.
After a stint in Paris, Miralda moved to New York in 1971 and has since lived between the States and Europe, where he has focused on the creation of large-scale installation work. He soon became known for his food-themed projects such as his 1974 Movable Feast, which featured a moving banquet composed of food and dishes prepared by the residents and restaurants of NYC’s Ninth Avenue. He was a torch-bearer for participative installations that drew on the public’s active participation and put art back into the reality of everyday life. The food theme would go on to be a recurring element in his work, which he explores in all its social, cultural, and political dimensions.
In the early eighties, he collaborated with the Spanish chef Montse Guillén to found the world-famous El Internacional Tapas Bar & Restaurant, a restaurant-cum-art project that blurred the lines of gastronomy and art. It was during this same time that Miralda created his Honeymoon Project, which celebrated the imaginary marriage of NYC’s Statue of Liberty and Barcelona’s Mirador de Colom. This is one of the artist’s rare non-food related projects, exploring instead the different cultural significances of the bond of marriage in both the Old (Spain) and New (NYC) worlds.
He later founded Food Cultura, a ‘wall-less’ museum that explores the global history of food, customs, cultural experiences, and art. The artist looks at questions such as ‘How does the transformation of food into a product affect our original dependence from it for survival?’ or ‘When do the globalizing forces of food mass production and distribution affect the more traditional modes of eating and preparing food?’ The project is ongoing and aims to reflect on the ever-changing relationship of man and his food, understanding that the relationship is more than just a cultural one.
The MIRALDA MADEINUSA exhibition taking place at MACBA until April 9, 2017 contains some of the most significant artworks to emerge throughout the artist’s career. It contains work such as Breadline (1977) – an evocative line of bread placed outside the Houston Contemporary Art Museum – or Wheat & Steak (1981), a performance that took place in the streets of Kansas City.
The museum is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: 11am to 7:30pm; Saturday: 10am to 9pm; Sunday and holidays: 10am to 3pm; closed Tuesday (except public holidays). Access to the exhibition costs €10.