Barcelona’s recently been casting an eye to its future. The overhaul of its legendary flea market, Els Encant Vells, was one such boost, and now it can add a brand new contemporary art gallery to its glossy résumé.
Launched last week, Fundació Gaspar is a private art initiative housed within Paula Cervelló, an early 15th century gothic palace. The inaugural exhibition – entitled ‘Art Strikes Back!’ – features a roster plucked from Hauser & Wirth’s stable, including Paul McCarthy, Louise Bourgeois, Subodh Gupta, amongst others.
At the foundation’s helm is Moishan Gaspar, the great-grandson of renowned gallerist Joan Gaspar I Xalabarder, whose gallery was an integral part of the city’s art scene for nearly a century. Bolstered by his pedigree and experience at several galleries prior, Gaspar is hoping to give international artists a platform in a city that has traditionally favoured classic art.
There’s an eclectic mix of artwork on show – Mark Wallinger’s mirrored Doctor Who homage dazzles in one room opposite a surreal McCarthy video work, while a soaring Martin Creed wall painting brings the gallery’s lofty ceilings to the fore. The potential of the renovated space is evident, although not fully explored in this greatest hits medley.
The foundation clocks in at 1,500 sq m, just under half of which will be dedicated to exhibitions. The remaining space is dedicated to a café in the courtyard, along with a well-stocked bookshop and film theatre specialising in art. And the gallery is expecting overspill from the neighbouring Picasso Museum.
‘Barcelona has been sleeping for the last 20 years when it comes to contemporary art,’ adds Gaspar. The new gallery could be the wake-up call the city needs.