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Barcelona: Don’t miss these art and history exhibits in February and March

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CCCB Barcelona
Theater lovers should head to the CCCB Barcelona's "Paral*lel" exhibit. Photo: Cesar Harada

In the winter, Barcelona is a different animal. Perhaps an animal in hibernation. I prefer Barcelona in the winter to Barcelona in August, when the humidity is overwhelming and the metropolis is jammed with tourists. Something about the quiet of wintertime begs a person to reflect, perhaps even ponder where we came from and where we’re going.

This February in Barcelona there is plenty to look back on at the city’s many museum. Here are some of the top exhibits to take in:

“Paral·lel Avenue 1894-1939″: Until Feb 24, 2013
CCCB – Montalegre 5, 08001, Barcelona
Website

The CCCB gallery hosts diverse temporary exhibitions year-round. On until the February 24, 2013, “Paral·lel Avenue 1894-1939″ offers a look into the history and culture of the Barcelona neighborhoods surrounding Paral·lel Avenue. Paral·lel cuts through El Raval and Poble Sec, making its way towards Sants.

Lately, Poble Sec has become quite a hip ‘hood to go out in, and El Raval has had the heavyweight “cool” title for some time. But way back before El Raval and Poble Sec were hipster hangouts, Paral·lel was the go-to place for entertainment, theater, concerts, and cabaret. Theater aficionados, this one is for you!

Inside Barcelona's Museo Picasso. Photo: Deming131

Inside Barcelona’s Museo Picasso. Photo: Deming131

“Picasso Ceramics: Jacqueline’s Gift To Barcelona”: Until April 1, 2013
Montcada 15-23, 08003, Barcelona
Website

The Picasso Museum, with its long lines, is not my favorite. However, this temporary exhibition of gifts given from the prolific master to his young wife arouses my curiosity. The exhibition celebrates the 30th anniversary of Jacqueline Picasso’s donation of 41 unique ceramics to the city of Barcelona. Plates, jugs and bowls were among gifts Picasso had made to her over the course of the two decades that they shared their lives. Pottery pundits, put this one on your list!

“Before the Deluge: Mesopotamia 3,500-2100 BC”: Until February 24, 2013
Caixa Forum, Av. de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 6-8, Barcleona
Website

The Caixa Forum is a free museum in an Art Nouveau factory off Pl. Espanya. This museum usually has several temporary exhibitions on at a time ranging from photography to architecture to history. Until February 24th, bone up on what may have been the first city in history at the museum. This empire had 40,000 inhabitants and was located in what is now southern Iraq. It went by the name of Uruk. History geeks will not want to miss this one.

“The other Pedreras: Architecture and design around the World in the early 20th century”: Until February 24, 2013
Passeig de Gràcia, 92. Barcelona
Website

This is another freebie offered in one of Barcelona’s most emblematic buildings, La Pedrera. In 1912, Gaudí finished Casa Milà or La Pedrera (The Quarry). To celebrate its 100th year the museum hsa on display a selection of exceptional architecture from the early 20th century, all built around the same time as the Pedrera. Included are:

Maison Horta 1898–1902, Brussels. Victor Horta (Ghent, 1861 – Brussels, 1947)

Hôtel Mezzara 1910–1911, Paris. Hector Guimard (Lyon, 1867 – New York, 1942)

Glasgow School of Art 1897–1909, Glasgow. Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Glasgow, 1868 – London, 1928)

Palais Stoclet 1905-1911, Bruselas. Josef Hoffmann (Pirnitz, 1870 – Viena, 1956)

Looshaus (Goldman & Salatsch Building) 1909–1911, Vienna. Adolf Loos (Brno, 1870 – Kalsburg, Vienna, 1933)

Robie House 1908–1910, Chicago. Frank Lloyd Wright (Richland Center, Wisconsin, 1867–Phoenix, Arizona, 1959)

If your hungry for historical tidbits, try the guided tours from Monday to Friday. (Note that they are in Catalan, but you might ask for an English translation.) Architecture admirers will want to get there before February 24.

Also in our guide: Heading to Barcelona soon? Be sure to swing by our budget guide to Barcelona, with tips for inexpensive places to stay, eat and get around.

About the author

Regina W Bryan

About the author: Regina W.Bryan is a Barcelona-based freelance writer and photographer. When not eating tapas and exploring Europe, she is tending her balcony veggie garden and practicing Catalan. For more of her thoughts on Spain, check: www.regwb.com and www.thespainscoop.com.

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