As autumn turns to winter and the botellins on terazzas become drinks at home, we turn to the third-best thing Madrid has to offer us (after the weather and football); Art! November brings weekends full of exploring new places and art forms. If you’re crying out for fresh experiences while discovering art and are tired of spending afternoons at the Reina Sofia, Prado or the Thyssen, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top 5 alternate places to view art in Madrid.
TABACALERA: The abandoned tobacco factory turned cultural center leaves me awestruck every time I visit. This labyrinth of street art, studios and urban gardens is located in the most culturally diverse neighborhood in Madrid; Lavapies. Much of the art remains true to the community in which it lives and represents the struggles that immigrants face. On weekends, you can find various different music genres being played simultaneously in different areas of the building. Just this weekend, I walked in on a WWE-styled wrestling match, with approximately 100 people cheering the performers on. Once a squat, elements of its deep, anarchistic sub-culture are maintained to this day through controversial pieces of street art regularly donning the walls of its underground tunnels.
Address: Calle de Embajadores, 53,
Hours: Tuesday-Friday:12:00-20:00, Saturday-Sunday: 11:00-20:00
Admission cost: Free
MUSEO DE NEOMUDEJAR: The Neomudejar mixes urban, contemporary art forms with the rustic, no frills environment of an old office that once belonged to the Atocha station. The combination of such innovative art creations with the old-school, almost run-down nature of the building that houses it (the wooden floors creak as you walk by) creates a unique viewing experience for the visitor. Its current exhibitions include photographic depictions of refugees all over the world, documentaries that form part of the Madrid-wide MadridDocu fest, and a particularly dark installation called ‘Mata Cain’, that depicts the horrors of violence during Franco’s dictatorship in Spain.
Address: Calle de Antonio Nebrija, S/N
Hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00-15:00, 17:00-21:00
Admission cost: 5 euros
Ciudad de Arte Zapadores: Speaking of Franco, one of the sites where Franco’s army had military barracks has now become the home of Madrid’s biggest army of underground artists. Decades following its closure, the organizers of the Neomudejar negotiated a deal with Atocha and opened a new art center that contains every art form imaginable. However, the most interesting aspect of the art city has to be the artists’ studios which were once military bunkers. The area gives off the impression of a commune set in the middle of nowhere. If you are lucky, you may be able to catch an artist in the middle of a creation.
Address: Calle Antonio de Cabezón, 70,
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 12:00-18:00
Admission cost: 5 euros
CASA DE MEXICO: Something many international students feel when they first come to Spain is dismay at a distinct lack of Mexican food and culture in mainstream society. A visit to Casa de Mexico will extinguish those feelings and replace them with love and appreciation of Mexican culture. Almost daily seminars, film viewings and concerts allow us (the uncultured public) to learn about Mexican heritage. The current Diego Rivera exhibit is on until the 16th of February and shows an insight into a side of his life that is not commonly seen elsewhere and is definitely worth a visit.
Address: Calle de Alberto Aguilera, 20
Hours: 10:00 – 21:00
Admission cost: Free
ESPACIO SOLO: Situated in the center of Madrid in front of the Puerta de Alcala, a private contemporary art museum called Espacio Solo camouflages itself as just another one of the many gorgeous, grand buildings that enclose Plaza de la Independencia. Its collection brings together post-pop and post-street art movements in all forms; paintings, sculptures, videos and installations. It provides a unique proposition in that all visits must be guided and booked in advance. Guides are given in English and Spanish, and last approximately 50 minutes long. It currently houses an exposition by Chinese-American artist Mu Pan, who, in his own words, is “just an otaku who draws”. However, his depictions of battles and beasts suggest much further artistic abilities than he cares to admit.
Address: Plaza de la Independencia, 5
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00-19:00
Admission cost: Free (Must be booked in advance)
Notable mentions: CA2M, Casa Arabe, El Matadero
Feature Image: Source