Madrid, June 2012
Visiting my brother for a few days in Madrid last week, I was able to soak up some cultural loveliness! Bur first things first, Madrid is about the nightlife. Lunch is late, Dinner is later. Bars begin to open at around 7 and stay open till 12, 3 or even 6 am. Unassuming residential streets begin to buzz at around 10pm and stay that way until dawn.
This made filling my days with museums a little more challenging… but it was definitely worth the effort to enjoy both the night and day experiences Madrid has to offer.
The first day took me to the east of Madrid, towards the Prado and Parque del Retiro. I visited Museo Nacional de Artes Decoratives, there were a few lovely items but to be honest it seemed a tad out dated and I think that I am spoiled by visiting the V&A so often to really appreciate somewhere as low key as this. However a stroll around Parque del Retiro was a lovely surprise, visiting the beautiful Palacio de Cristal I discovered part of an exhibition by Nacho Criado within, using glass and steel to create installations. Nacho Criado’s work was also in the nearby Velazquez Palace, which was much larger. I could not believe that such a wonderful exhibition was free of charge. The exhibitions came under the umbrella of Museo Reina Sofia and this gave me a tantalising taste of the following day.
So day 2 I visited the Museo Reina Sofia in the morning, intending to visit the Prado in the afternoon. But I enjoyed the Sofia so much that I spent all day inside! I believe that the building is a former hospital, situated just behind Atocha Metro and rail station. The exhibitions were wide and varied, but mostly I was impressed by how contemporary it was. Displays and exhibits seemed to have been collated with a lightness of touch. Whilst of course much of the work was not to my taste, I wanted to see it all as I’ve never seen anything put together in such a way. I don’t think that I saw one rope or cordon; it seems that as the viewer you are trusted and allowed treaded as an adult! The policy on photography is total freedom, no passes required, which was a wonderful treat, allowing me to record what I particularly enjoyed within such an enormous collection. Another point that was quite exiting was how a Picasso was apparently popped into a group of work, in context but, quite subtle. Wonderful. I cannot recommend this museum highly enough.
The nightlife was also quite entertaining, from eating florescent hamburgers, and dancing on podiums with granddad’s I think not too much needs to be said about all that business! Definitely a lot of potential for fun and shenanigans that’s for sure!
1, Palacio de Cristal
2, Palicio de Cristal, Nacho Criado
3, Palicio de Velazquez, Nacho Criado
4, Museo Reina Sofia, Jose Val Del Omar "PLAT experimental" Collage, 1977-82
5, Museo Reina Sofia, Dario Villalba, 1973