The Pompidou Centre in Malaga opened its doors in April 2015. It quickly gained a reputation for cutting-edge art in its permanent collection and thought-provoking temporary exhibitions. This together with its iconic multi-coloured glass cube has made it one of the best art museums in Malaga and southern Spain.
Update January 2020: the exhibition referred to in this article has now closed. The new one, ‘From Miró to Barceló: a century of Spanish art in Paris’ will open on 12 March 2020. Bookmark this page for updated information.
In December 2017, the Pompidou Centre completely renewed its permanent collection. ‘Modern Utopias’ will be on display until March 2020 giving visitors to Malaga the chance to see work from some of the finest 20th century artists. In this guide to the Pompidou Centre in Malaga we describe what you’ll see at the museum plus essential practical information.
What’s on display at the Pompidou Centre in Malaga
The Modern Utopias collection at the Pompidou Centre in Malaga is divided into six sections:
The Great Utopia
Pivotal events from the early 20th century – the Russian Revolution and the First World War – form the main inspiration for works in this section. My Sky is Red by Otto Freundich, one of the earliest abstract artists shares central stage with Robert Delaunay’s Rhythm, the Joy of Life.
The End of Illusion
The optimistic outlook gave way to disenchantment after two world wars and totalitarian regimes in many European countries. Key artists here include Kandinsky, Chagall – his Fall of Icarus symbolises the end of illusion – and Picasso who painted Spring in 1956.
“The goal of art is to defend life.” Martial Raysse 2015
This section of the new collection of the Pompidou Centre in Malaga includes some of the best installations. Frank Scurti’s NY 06:00 AM, Boris Achour’s Cosmos and Eva Aeppli’s Groupe de 13 all provide food for thought. One of Spain’s greatest modern artists, Antonio Saura, also has a work on display – his Diada, created in 1978, is a homage to the Catalan people.
The Radiant City and Imagining the Future
The collection turns next to architecture where utopia has been a key theme from the mid-20th century onwards. Led by perhaps the most famous French architect or all, Le Corbusier, this section includes models of cities of the future and some cutting-edge design. The Botanical Gardens in Barcelona and the Seafront Promenade in Benidorm are featured here.
In the section looking into the future there are several architectural projects turning old into new. They include an old Coca-Cola factory in Oostkamp in Belgium, transformed into a civic centre.
The Golden Age
Who doesn’t look back at the past with some nostalgia? And artists are no exception. In the final (and biggest) section of the new exhibition, the works create an ideal society in a perfect world. Colours are bright and vibrant as the artists look back at paradise lost.
24 sheep on wheels, 14 of which have no head, take centre stage in the hall. By François Javier Lalanne, the installation has pride of place and is surrounded by some of the biggest works in the collection. They include Joan Miró’s People and Birds in the Night and Sylvie’s Sunday, painted by Joan Mitchell in 1976. The giant sculpture representing a Monument to the Third International by Vladimir Tatlin brings the collection to an end.
Highlights at the Pompidou Centre
Inside the multi-coloured cube – Daniel Buren’s cube can be seen from the inside from the main exhibition. Watch the clouds scud across the panes and the sails flow in the wind.
Children’s activities – the museum runs good exhibitions for children. Check the website to find out what’s on.
Central stairway – this big exhibition space is currently bare but will soon feature an installation, best viewed from the bottom.
Museum shop – this is one of the best museum shops in Malaga with lots of great ideas for fun or unusual gifts plus an excellent selection of art books.
Pompidou Centre in Malaga – practicalities
The Pompidou Centre opens Wednesday to Monday (closed Tuesday) from 9.30am to 8pm.
Modern Utopias €7
Temporary Exhibition €4
Free admission on Sundays after 5pm
The Pompidou Centre is fully accessible. Read more about accessible Malaga.
Time to allow for visit
Allow at least an hour to see Modern Utopias, longer if you watch all the videos.
Café and restaurant
The Pompidou Centre in Malaga doesn’t have a café or restaurant service. However, there are several excellent venues on Muelle Uno just outside. Read our guide to La Malagueta area.
This is one of the great museums in Malaga. Discover the others and decide which to visit while you’re on holiday in the city.