Dec 22 – 26, 2023
We decided to spend Christmas in Barcelona with some friends of Yuva, which felt like spending it with close family. It was a few lazy days of overly elaborate meal prep and rituals from prior years and drinking and reading on the couch.
We were staying in El Raval, very close to MACBA Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, a museum that I've now visited twice, and both times have seen artist retrospectives that have stayed with me. Years ago, I saw a Exhibition retrospective that turned me onto their work. This time it was Nancy Holt / Inside Outside - an artist I was unfamiliar with who does beautiful things with light art, perception, framing and land art to name a few. I found her work enchanting. One theme of hers was a series of circular viewfinders pointed very precisely at circles on a wall, that play with our sense of scale and perspective. Another was circular cutouts of walls in the gallery with timed lights that allowed the viewer to enjoy the way the light coming through the circle distorted based on their relation to the light source. It sounds simple, but that's part of what makes it so effective and playful.
Other highlights: torrone (especially the one that tasted like an extra smoky creme brulee that I'm told is special for christmastime) from Pastisseria La Estrella, home cooked lamb chops and teaching Yuva that brits combine mint and lamb, a boozy lunch at Denassus. We explored a couple of local queer bars on christmas night - Little House on the Prairie (serie de televisión) which was empty but the vibes were good, and Madame Jasmine (@madamejasminebar) • Instagram photos and videos which was just crowded enough to feel intimate and the vibes were very good. Bubó Barcelona did a lot of "stunt" chocolates and cakes but managed to remember to make them delicious. The nativity scene at Kathedrale von Barcelona was large and immersive (not in like, a tech way), and felt more alive in the sculpture and setting than any others I'd seen, in an outdoor courtyard filled with medieval art that had been protected under an arcade for hundreds of years.