Spanish museums to unveil special exhibitions in 2022

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish museums

Archaeology, ancient painting, contemporary art, fashion or film; Spanish museums and art centres are facing 2022 with optimism. And this year they are offering a wide and varied programme for all target groups. With this, they aim to continue the increase in visitor numbers observed in 2021. 

With this programming, the museums aim to continue the rising visitor numbers of 2021. By the end of the year, Picasso’s influence will be felt. And, as such, many exhibitions will be held to mark the 50th anniversary of his death in 2023. Until then, these are 10 of the most important exhibitions in Spanish museums over the next 12 months: 

Picasso and Chanel, Thyssen Museum in Madrid 

Fashion and art go hand in hand again at the Thyssen Museum in Madrid. Picasso and Chanel, two of the great geniuses of the 20th century, collaborated on two plays by Jean Cocteau. But their relationship goes beyond that. Therefore, the museum focuses on the influence of Cubism on the designer. Furthermore, this is the period marked by the ballerina Olga Chochlova, wife of the artist and devoted customer of Chanel. (Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, October, 2022). 

William Turner and Catalan masters, MNAC in Barcelona 

The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona offers an exhibition of the English painter, curated in collaboration with London’s Tate Museum, combined with a selection of works by Catalan artists from the 19th century. The exhibitions show the artists’ love of nature and landscape, and focus on the atmospheric effects in particular, and thus on environmental issues. (MNAC, May 2022). 

From Fauvism to Surrealism, Guggenheim Bilbao 

Using works from the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (MAM), the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao travels to the beginning of the 20th century to offer a panoramic view of the avant-garde and its main creators, who with daring and freedom revolutionised the way art was interpreted. In total, more than 70 masterpieces from Paris are on display (Guggenheim Museum, February 2022). 

A new approach to graphic art, Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid 

This genre is a technique that does not occupy the prominent place it deserves in art history but plays a relevant role as a tool for social justification. Moreover, this is expressed in From Posada to Isotype, from Kollwitz to Catlett, curated by the prestigious historian Benjamin Buchloh at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid (MNCARS, March, 2022). 

Cinema and fashion, Caixaforum Madrid/ Barcelona 

Designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, the exhibition revisits the close relationship between the two disparate worlds. The exhibition explores the women’s liberation movement and the creative exchange between directors, designers and actors, as well as other links between the two worlds. (Caixaforum Madrid, February 2022 / Caixaforum Barcelona, July 2022) 

Villa Nova Spain

Ancient Egypt comes to Madrid, CaixaForum Madrid 

The Mummies exhibition brings six specimens from the British Museum from between 900 and 150 BC to the Spanish capital. Furthermore, they will be displayed alongside numerous discoveries on culture, medicine and customs. Moreover, it was made possible thanks to the most modern technology and without the need to unpack the mummies. (CaixaForum Madrid July, 2022). 

Annibale Carracci, The Herrera Chapel, Museo del Prado in Madrid / MNAC Barcelona 

The Prado museum, however, has yet to announce its programme for 2022. But it is bringing one of its exhibitions that was delayed by the pandemic. Furthermore, this exhibition brings together the frescoes that the Bolognese painted for the chapel of Diego de Herrera in the Santa Maria in Monserrato degli Spagnoli Church in Rome, which can be seen together for the first time. (Museo del Prado March 2022, MNAC June 2022). 

Abundant Futures, art project in Córdoba 

The first exhibition of the collaboration between Francesca Thyssen’s foundation, TBA21, and the Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía (C3A) in Córdoba, curated by Daniela Zyman, takes a positive approach to the future. Moreover, the new contemporary art project promises to put the Andalucian city on the map of contemporary art. (April 2022). 

Carrie Mae Weems, Centro de Fotografía Kbr Barcelona 

Gender, race, sexuality, social class and family-run like a thread through the photographs of Carrie Mae Weems, one of the most important artists on the contemporary American scene. Mae Weems’ images expose the violence that is deliberately perpetrated against the most disadvantaged classes in the United States. (Kbr Barcelona, October, 2022). 

Homage to Carlos Pérez Siquier, Fundación Mapfre Madrid 

The Almerian photographer who died in September was one of the most original ‘voices’ of Spanish photography. Moreover, from a remote corner of Almería, he revolutionised the Spanish photography scene. However, his last exhibition had to be cancelled in Barcelona because of the pandemic. But now it comes to Madrid as a well-deserved posthumous tribute. (Fundación Mapfre Madrid, June 2022). 

And there is more… 

Furthermore, this selection does not include many other special exhibitions that will take place in 2022: Picasso in the Blue Period (Museo Picasso de Barcelona), the first retrospective in Spain by Alex Katz (Museo Thyssen), the collection by Joan Miró (Fundación Miró), or Ellen Gallagher (Centro Botín), and retrospectives by Spanish artists such as Teresa Lanceta (MACBA Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona) or Manolo Quejido (MNCARS, Barcelona). 

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