Across the face of each sweatshirt, phone case, and postcard in the gift shop reads, “in art we trust.” No one believes this more than Moco, a museum that provides space for unique, visionary artists from all over the world. Moco balances modern, contemporary and street art in a cohesive way, divided between 2 floors and outdoor courtyards.
Situated just down the block from the Picasso Museum, the Moco opened its bright pink doors just this past October 2021. After the first location gained international attention in Amsterdam, the museum decided to open another branch in Barcelona and ever since, the museums have attracted over 2 million visitors combined. What makes it even cooler? Its location in the Born means it’s surrounded by up- and- coming artists, studios and galleries. After visiting the narrow, charming street several times, it’s safe to say the area is an art hot spot!
The Moco museum is a refreshing, bright and insightful space reminiscent of iconic museums in Los Angeles like The Broad. From the Middle Ages to the 20th Century, aristocrats, merchants, and royals have held onto this historical site, and bits and pieces of the architecture remain today to pay homage. The way I described the Moco to my friend was that it houses Instagrammable art to pull you in, but the helpful explanations and history behind each piece is what makes it stand out from just any photo-op.
The first floor features pieces from iconic artists like Keith Haring, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami and a slew of other talents. I especially enjoyed the Keith Haring installation, a chalk subway drawing brought all the way from New York. The layout and design of the first floor was designed well, as the exposed brick in the arches paired with clean white walls somehow compliments each piece perfectly.
The upstairs is a bit moodier and the walls shift to darker hues, light installations in dark rooms, NFTS, and large screens displaying graphic design art. The walk through starts and ends with the largest installations, placed in sunny outdoor spaces that transcend the usual frames on walls.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from museums, it’s that (especially in contemporary art) the presentation is equally as important as the piece itself. The music in this museum is unlike any other, and ranges from a fast-paced tempo in the first few rooms to a gospel recording that becomes humorous when paired with the boombox head installation upstairs. Music is too often put on the backburner, or is entirely absent, when designing a space to display visual art, but I found that at The Moco, it tied all the pieces together and enhanced my experience. Speaking of audio, the Moco offers a free audio tour with each ticket purchased for those interested, so don’t forget your headphones!
There is something for everyone at Moco, which is what I think makes it especially unique and popular. The age variety of people in attendance was also refreshing; kids outside adored the life size KAWS Mickey Mouse sculpture while adults squinted curiously at some of Banksy’s timeless pieces, like “Laugh Now,” his reminder that we are all animals and not too far away from our chimpanzee ancestors. The Moco is a place for those looking for household names, for emerging artists, for lovers of all things pink and of course for some awesome selfies in the Diamond Matrix.
By Leah Pratley
About the author
Hello! I’m a student at the University of Oregon studying abroad in Barcelona for 8 weeks. I’m excited to be here and contribute to Frikifish, which allows me to explore the city and all of the incredible art it has to offer. I enjoy reading, writing, going to museums, and the beach. That being said, I couldn’t picture a better place than Barcelona. Hope you enjoy following along with me!