CaixaForum Barcelona

The Barcelona branch of the popular Spanish franchise of cultural centers, CaixaForum Barcelona is one of the city’s most well-known contemporary art venues. Housed within a fully renovated landmark building that once served as a textile factory and industrial warehouse, CaixaForum Barcelona hosts temporary art exhibitions, live music concerts, acclaimed film screenings, and a whole lot more. Visitors will also find here an elegant café and well-curated gift shop.

History of CaixaForum Barcelona

In the past several decades, the not-for-profit banking foundation Fundación La Caixa (the same organization responsible for local science museum, CosmoCaixa) has become one of Spain’s major arts patrons, amassing a renowned collection of contemporary art. In 2002, Fundación La Caixa opened CaixaForum Barcelona, providing the city with another remarkable arts-related attraction, this one complete with a media library, auditorium, café, gift shop, and mural by the artist, Sol LeWitt. It has been said that CaixaForum Barcelona contains some 130,000 square feet of exhibition space.

CaixaForum Barcelona is located within the former Casaramona textile factory. Designed by the celebrated Modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch—who was also responsible for Casa Amatller—Casaramona first opened in 1912. By the end of the decade the factory had closed, but over the ensuing years the site would go on to serve a multitude of purposes, including functioning as a warehouse during the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and a military barracks during the Spanish Civil War. Fundación La Caixa purchased the building in 1963. The building was renovated in 2019 under the watch of influential Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, who won the Pritzker Prize (the so-called “Nobel Prize of Architecture”) that same year for his career achievements.

CaixaForum Barcelona Highlights

CaixaForum Barcelona does have its own small permanent collection of artworks; selections from this collection—which numbers approximately 1,000 pieces in total—are on occasion displayed throughout the site. Of particular note is Joseph Beuys’ famous 1983 piece Hinter dem Knochen wird gez.hlt – Schmerzraum, which the Fundación La Caixa acquired for its contemporary art collection in 1985. It has anchored the attraction as a permanent installation here since the attraction opened its doors in 2002.

No matter when you visit CaixaForum Barcelona, you’re guaranteed to see something new and different, as the attraction’s vibrant programming typically changes multiple times throughout the year. Recent temporary exhibitions of note that showed at CaixaForum Barcelona include Venerated and Feared: Female Power in Art and Belief, which explored depictions of female power throughout art history; From the Border, a show that probed how historical and geographical boundaries have shaped our world; and Horizon and Limit: Visions of the Landscape, wherein numerous contemporary artists presented work depicting the impact of humans on the natural world around us.

CaixaForum Barcelona also regularly hosts one-off performances and special events. From recitals by internationally recognized classical musicians to director-hosted film screenings to family-friendly workshops, CaixaForum Barcelona maintains a busy schedule of activities. For the most up-to-date information on what will be taking place here when you’re planning to visit, be certain to check out CaixaForum Barcelona’s official website in advance of your trip.

More to See and Do at CaixaForum Barcelona

Here are a few more things of note to consider as you’re planning a trip to CaixaForum Barcelona.

*Increasingly, CaixaForum Barcelona stages virtual reality-enabled immersive experiences within its galleries. Dates and times for these performances are subject to change throughout the year, but if it’s something you’re interested in trying out, make a point of visiting the attraction’s website for more details.

*CaixaForum Barcelona contains a small but charming gift shop run by the popular bookstore chain, Laie—the same brand that operates stores at Barcelona attractions like La Pedrera, Sagrada Familia, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA). Here you’ll find an assortment of books on art, architecture, and design, as well as exhibition-related texts and souvenirs.

*The CaixaForum Café-Restaurant is a good spot to sip a coffee, grab a snack, or enjoy a meal. Restaurant-style service is available seven days a week between the hours of 1:00pm and 3:45pm; the rest of the time the establishment operates in the fashion of a cafeteria.

*CaixaForum Barcelona advises guests visiting the attraction during the summer months (or anytime the temperature is warm outside) to wear a coat or sweatshirt. This is because the galleries at CaixaForum Barcelona are kept cool at a steady 69 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why CaixaForum Barcelona Should Be on Your Must-See List

Visitors to Barcelona with a taste for art museums will be spoiled for choices; you’ll need a robust itinerary to come anywhere close to fitting the city’s finest institutions into your busy schedule. So why make room for CaixaForum Barcelona? The answer is simple. If you’re an art lover who takes pride in keeping their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in contemporary art, you’re going to be thrilled at the scope of work that’s on display within CaixaForum Barcelona at any given point in time during the year.