4 reviews of Caixaforum Madrid in English
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This is one of my favourite museums in Madrid. Only the architecture is worth the visit. The interior is completely unexpected, because it seems much smaller from outside. You may or may not like the exhibitions, that are usually temporary, and change about 3 times a year, but they are free and of very quality. I totally recommend to visit this museum if you are minimally interested in art.
The Caixa Forum in Madrid is a fantastic place to visit. The exhibitions are completely free and the building is worth exploring inside and out - the spaces and use of materials were stunning.
Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed on my visit. There is a well stocked book and gift shop.
There is currently an exhibition on Richard Rogers and Architects running until October 18th 2009. Also, The Worlds of Islam runs until September 6th. This displays some fantastic Islamic art that is destined for the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.
Caixa Forum is open on Mondays and is completely free. So if you can’t afford the Reine Sofia museum, this is where to go. There were two exhibitions when I went, Chaplin in pictures and Alfonso Mucha. The building is astonishing, the top floors appear to be covered entirely in rusted iron, with small grill spaces for the windows, but the real eyecatcher is the sidewall of teh building in front, which has been entirely covered in plants, growing sideways out of the wall. There are lots of gardens in Madrid, the city of springs, but this was the most unusual, and it is only in Madrid’s 40 degree heat that you get the smells of herbs and flowers properly.
The Chaplin exhibit was advertised all over Madrid with posters on lampposts, and was brilliant. A dozen or more small and large screens showed clips from his films, there were early film stories with still photos taken from the early days of the tramp, when he was something of a scoundrel, right through to home movies of Chaplin in Switzerland, eating flowers and pretending to be a lion with his kids. Rare prints and a short film by Leger featuring the tramp were new to me. The music was of course the nonsense song from Modern Times, which was shown on a loop, with an eight foot high transcription of the song so you could sing along should you have wished to. Had I been there on a Thursday evening I would definitely have paid for one of the Chaplin/Keaton double bills as it was only €3.
I walked down the huge brilliantly designed staircase, having taken the woode panelled lifts on the way up. Alfonso Mucha was the graphic designer whose work most embodies the Art Nouveau period. You’d recognise it instantly from saucy packaging of the time. He became famous as soon as his poster for Sarah Bernhardt appeared, (can’t remember which play) and he went on to create posters for her in La Dame aux Camelias and Hamlet.
The foyer of the building was fantastic, with a sheet metal staircase leading up from the street, crisscrossed neon tubes on suspended from the ceiling, and wooden lockers which required no coin as deposit (!) So i was thinking this would be a good place to dump your bags on the last day of your trip if your hotel didn’t let you do that. There were lockers big enough for my large bag. The shop had an amazing range of stuff, including the kind of graphic design books you usually only see in the trendiest london shops. Mucha postcards would have made great gifts for family members.
The restaurant on the top floor has to be seen to be believed. Light comes through the iron grill outside in patterns, and huge rubber bulbs hang from the ceiling like breasts or giant sperm. They are low enough so that you deliberately hit your head on them standing up from the table. Very strange indeed!
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