The summer is the perfect opportunity for residents as well as visitors to soak up not just the sun, but also the culture. Malaga’s art galleries and museums have put the city in the forefront in recent years, filling columns in travel and art publications across the globe.
A couple of decades ago, as far as the art world was concerned, Malaga was nothing more than the birthplace of Picasso, with a house on the corner of a square that you could visit.
Now it has its own Picasso museum, the Carmen Thyssen Museum, the Pompidou “pop-up”, the branch of the St Petersburg State Russian Museum, the Malaga museum of Fine Art and Archaeology, the contemporary art centre and numerous smaller art galleries and exhibition spaces.
Dodging the heat in the middle of the day inside the cool galleries is a trick that residents and tourists share, whether visiting for the first time, revisiting a permanent collection or taking in the latest temporary show.
Malaga Picasso Museum
Bruce Nauman calls in on the genius
The Picasso Museum is perhaps the first stop on the itinerary of visitors drawn to the city by its most famous artist. Just opened, to complement the collection of works from all periods of Picasso’s life, is the exhibition ‘Rooms, Bodies, Words’ by American artist Bruce Nauman.
The artist’s first large-format show in Spain in 25 years spans the numerous media and techniques used by the artist, from architectural installations and sculptures to videos, drawings and photography.
In Malaga until 1 September, the exhibition comprises 100 works produced in the past four decades by an artist who is essential to the understanding of contemporary art in the past 50 years.
Carmen Thyssen Museum
Femmes fatales move in for summer
The Carmen Thyssen museum, with its stunning collection of Spanish and Andalusian art from the old masters to the beginning of the 20th century, is also host to a temporary exhibition this summer. ‘Perversity. Femmes Fatales in Modern Art (1880–1950)’ focuses on women at a time when they went from being “passive, sexualised subjects to champions of emancipation and freedom”, as the museum’s own literature explains. Artists whose works have been brought together for this temporary show, which runs until 8 September, include Gustav Klimt, Amedeo Modigliani, Kees Van Dongen, Man Ray, George Grosz, Pablo Ruiz Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Gargallo, Suzanne Valadon, Maruja Mallo, Ignacio Zuloaga, Hermen Anglada-Camarasa and Julio Romero de Torres.
Also at the Carmen Thyssen museum, just opened earlier in June, is ‘Max Ernst. Historia Natural’, which runs until 13 October. Here are 34 collotype prints of drawings Ernst did in 1925, playing with textures using his frottage rubbing technique.
Modern views of Utopia
The current semi-permanent exhibition at the Malaga arm of the Centre Pompidou in Paris is the journey through the ideals, disappointments and imagination of modern and contemporary artists. The collection ‘Modern Utopias’ has been at the museum under the colourful cube in the city’s Muelle Uno marina since the end of 2017, and remains until next year. The six sections house 63 works, including paintings, sculpture and installations by artists including Delaunay, Kandinsky, Picasso, Miró and many others, with Lalanne’s Flock of Sheep occupying the centre of the biggest exhibition space.
The Banksy invasion
The provincial government’s cultural centre on the west side of the city centre, La Térmica, launched into a new, ambitious phase this spring when it opened ‘Banksy, the Art of Protest’. For the first time, the centre, which occupies the old Centro Cívico building, is charging admission to one of its exhibitions, and for the first time it will stay open during the summer months.
The more than 40 works by the elusive British artist on display in Malaga until 15 September come from international private collections and have never been exhibited before in Spain.
Women in the Saint Petersburg collection
The current annual exhibition in Malaga’s own Russian museum, running through until 27 February next year is ‘Saints, Queens and Workers, the Image of the Woman in Russian Art’. The collection explores the role of women in Russia through its art, from religious icons to portraits of independent workers.
Art and archaeology
The city’s own collection of art and archaeology can be viewed in the old Aduana (customs) palace whose courtyard is in itself the perfect place to sit and relax on a summer’s afternoon. The art section comprises the collection of the San Telmo Fine Arts Academy, as well as private donations.