Thursday, 19 May 2016

Wandering the Montjuic to see Picasso and Van Gogh and Pollock and...

We packed a picnic (we like picnicking in parks) and sauntered up the Montjuic Hill just behind our neighbourhood today just for "something to do".

Because the Montjuic is a hill, there were lots of stairs today. I like taking pictures of stairs. So you're going to see a lot of stairs in this post. Sorry in advance.
Just in the neighbourhood 
Trees in the middle
One of the stairs led to a square with two theatres AND the Institute of Theatre on it.
The Mercat de las Flors and the Institute on one side 
The Teatre Llurie on the other
The front side of the Llurie
As we climbed the hill, this led to more stairs...
Up into the green 
Life on the stairs 
More up, more green 
More stairs 
And up we go
This led us to the Jardins Laribal, which had fountains in addition to stairs.
A statue, not stairs 
Whoops. More stairs, but mostly trees 
Stairs again
There is this REALLY cool little waterfall that comes cascading down the hill in 3 steps. I spent a LOT of time trying to get good photos of it from below and above.

The whole thing
The middle part 
The upper part 
More of the upper part

From the top, looking down 
More of the same
Of course, in order to get to the top of the waterfall, there were... stairs.
Up to a fountain 
Up through a pergola 
Up through a forest
We endes up for our picnic at a tranquil little pond with a statue, complete with lilly pads.
Flowers in the pond
Let's go that way!
There's a restaurant in that space with awesome downtown views.
Love the green things 
Love the view
The park has lovely set of green pathways, and a really f'ing big pergola...
Must be 100 m long
...and that leads to... stairs.

Up and up and up
...which leads to more stairs, and the park exit.
Not a fountain. Just a sculpture
The exit was right in front of the sterile and uninteresting Olympic Stadium and Plaza.
The empty stadium 
The plaza. See below for a comment on that thing on the left 
The stadium from the front
That strange corkscrew-shaped thing is a communications tower (Telefonica's) designed by Santiago Calatrava, designer of the ridiculous candy-cane bridge across the Bow in Calgary. Both are silly and ugly, if you ask me -- though I hasten to add, communications towers are ugly, and of all the ugly communications towers I've seen, that's one of the least offensive (though Canmore's fake pine tree isn't bad).

Guess what's next to that fountain in front of the stadium? That's right. Stairs.
There's a theme here
We were heading to a museum, so from here headed back towards the lovely MNAC palace, when we ran across another botanic garden, this one in an old quarry pit. It's a treasure trove of ancient plants and home to the tallest trees in Barcelona. Being in an old quarry pit, you have to take... stairs... to get there.
Down we go 
Or up 
Stairs in the green
This was an impressively pastoral place.
Pretty but probably a weed 
The core of the garden 
Green on green on green
Out of the garden, past the MNAC...
A pretty building more... stairs.
Flanked by waterfalls that aren't waterfalling 
Pretty mosaics 
Nice patterns
This took us to the front of the MNAC, where the Font Magica was not font-ing -- but the views are still nice.
It looked different at night
Our goal in wandering back over her was to see a show at the CaixaForum Art Gallery. An American private collector with a significant gallery in Washington, DC has a show on here. The Phillips Collection is pretty rich, and ~100 pieces are here. They include Degas, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Pollock, Matisse, Cezanne, Picasso, Modigliani and others. Our apartment in Barcelona has two prints from Rothko on the walls; the show has a few Rothkos. Here are some samples.
Van Gogh 
Jackson Pollock
They had a cool kid's art room with a still life scene...
The scene
...and a whole lot of peel and stick magnetic bits, plus metal easels, where you could create your own impressionist version of the scene. Here's the room...
Blank metal easels with magnetic parts on the left
...and here's what I created.
Impressively uninteresting
Other than this excellent show, the museum is mostly modern art stuff, some of which is laughable. There's one permanent installation piece; a 20' x 20' room lined on the floors, walls and ceiling with lead sheets, a single lightbulb hanging from the ceiling, and 2 small rings on the ceiling as well, created by a strange artist named Joseph Beuys, who invented a nonsensical story that he was rescued during WW2 by Tartars, covered in fat and wrapped in felt. 

Other than the Phillips Collection, the art may not be interesting, but the building is fun. Built in 1911, it was first a textile factory, then a warehouse, then a police force building, then bought by the La Caxia Bank in 1963. It opened as a museum in 2002, and you can go up onto the roof.
Interior courtyards 
More of the interiors 
The undulating roof 
One of 4 towers on the roof 
Reminiscent of Terra Cotta Warrior
Alas, after the excitement of Mr. Beuys' art, it was time to go home. Though this time, the Font Magica was actually font-ing.
Wow! Water! 
And the MNAC in the background
On the way home, we passed a mirrored building, which I'm ordinarily not a fan of. But... across the street from it was a cool old synagogue, which, based on looking at it, is long abandoned. And the reflection was great.
The reflection 
The synagogue
Everything we did today was ~30 min walk from my front door. Nice neighbourhood.

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