The country’s major museums have reopened amid security measures and new exhibitions
Although many have virtual tours and have had a large number of activities, videos, podcasts and audiovisual resources during quarantine, we have missed them. The museums, one of the best showcases for the history of Spanish, European and universal art, are once again welcoming visitors. We review the opening dates and news of some of the most emblematic museums and art centres in Spain.
Madrid’s ‘art mile’: Museo del Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofía
After almost three months closed, the three largest museums in the capital returned to the ‘new normal’ on Saturday 6 June, with free tickets for the first two days of reopening, which were sold out in a few hours.
‘Reencuentro‘ is the name of the new permanent collection assembly with which the Prado Museum is reopening its doors, and which will run until 13 September. A smaller version of its enormous heritage – in larger spaces – thanks to which we can enjoy almost 250 works, 190 of which have been relocated. Among them, emblematic pieces such as ‘La Anunciación’ by Fra Angelico and ‘El Descendimiento’ by Van der Weyden brought together for the first time; Goya‘s ‘Saturn’ and Rubens together; and ‘Las Meninas’ and ‘Las Hilanderas’ by Velázquez accompanied by the jesters of the painter from Seville. The great Spanish art gallery has limited the capacity to 1,800 visitors.
— Museo del Prado (@museodelprado) June 8, 2020
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, for its part, has reduced its entrance fee to 5 euros and will gradually reopen its spaces, with a maximum capacity of 938 visitors. During the usual opening hours, visitors will be able to see the emblematic works of the permanent collection, such as Picasso‘s ‘Guernica’, Dalí‘s ‘Girl in the Window’ or ‘A World of Holy Angels’. They can also access the spaces dedicated to Cubism, Surrealism, Óscar Domínguez, Buñuel, Miró and Julio González, as well as the garden and the Nouvel terrace.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, for its part, will hold the two temporary exhibitions that were already on display before the confinement: ‘Rembrandt and the Portrait in Amsterdam‘, until 30 August; and ‘Joan Jonas: Moving Off The Land II‘, until the 13 September. While the capacity of these two exhibitions is about a hundred people and 65 visitors, respectively, for the permanent collection of the Thyssen there will be a total of 1,200 people simultaneously.
MNAC, MACBA and Picasso Museum in Barcelona
The nearly 50,000 square metres of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), in Barcelona, will open on 10 June with new features such as extended opening hours (from 10 am to 8 pm every day until 30 September); a free bus from Plaza de España; and a 2×1 entrance, in addition to other discounts and free time slots. All the collections will be open to the public from the first day, as well as two temporary exhibitions: one dedicated to Aurèlia Muñoz; and by the artist Oriol Vilapuig in the Romanesque rooms.
The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), another of the great museums in the Catalan capital, opened its doors on 3 June, resuming its activity with the exhibitions ‘A Short Century’, which brings together iconic pieces from its collection such as the work of Albers, Calder, Torres-García, Basquiat, Miró, Oteiza, Tàpies and a long etcetera. The exhibition TAKIS, dedicated to the Greek artist, has also been extended and the exhibition ‘Action: a provisional history of the nineties’ is scheduled for July.
For its part, the Picasso Museum of Barcelona will once again open its doors on 12 June, with a new space to welcome visitors and a one-way tour of the permanent collection to guarantee security measures. Until 30 June they will have a reduced rate, at a single price of 7 euros, while maintaining free admission on Thursdays from 5 pm to 9 pm, and extended opening hours on Sundays. The reopening will be marked by the opening of the temporary exhibition ‘Jamais (Mai)’, by Óscar Domínguez.
Contemporary art returns to Malaga, Bilbao and Valencia
On 1 June, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao presented its security measures and conditions for the reopening of Frank Gehry’s iconic building. During June it will open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and during July and August it will extend its opening hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., without ever exceeding the 400-person capacity.
In Malaga, one of the emerging cultural enclaves of our country, the Picasso Museum opened its doors on 26 May, together with the rest of the art institutions in the city: the Carmen Thyssen Museum, the Centre Pompidou, the Russian Museum Collection, Picasso’s Birthplace and the CAC Malaga, among others. The MPM, which is resuming its usual schedule (from 10 am to 7 pm), has premiered ‘Dialogues with Picasso: 2020-2023‘, a new museum tour that shows a total of one hundred and twenty works by the most universal Spanish painter in history.
One of the first museums to open was the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern (IVAM), which did so on International Museum Day on 18 May, with great success in terms of visitor numbers and the installation of the artist from Alzira, Jorge Peris. Visits will also be free until 31 December, along with nine other museum spaces of the Generalitat Valenciana.
The state museums open on 9 June
The museums run by the Ministry of Culture and Sport will open to the public on 9 June, at their usual times, with free entry until 31 July.
Among other state museums, the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid; the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida (Badajoz); the Museum of Altamira, in Santillana del Mar (Cantabria); the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology in Cartagena (Murcia); the El Greco Museum (Toledo), the National Museum of Ceramics and Sanctuary Arts in Valencia; and the National Museum of Sculpture in Valladolid will reopen their doors.
A reopening with maximum security
All these museums, like the rest of Spain’s art centres, have taken extreme precautions to ensure that the return to their rooms and exhibitions is totally safe. In addition to the reduced capacity, they have installed mats to disinfect the soles of shoes, protective screens and physical barriers to prevent contact, one-way routes to maintain distance, and essential material such as masks and hand sanitisers. They are also carrying out the continuous disinfection of facilities and surfaces, as well as constant air purification, to guarantee their quality.
What all the museums also insist on is managing the purchase of tickets online and using digital apps and programs to have all the information about the exhibitions available on mobile devices – thus avoiding audio guides and printed brochures.