Nit de ‘Art
Majorca‘s go-go summer season may be dwindling to a halt for the year, but on 22 September, it’ll be big-time party time in Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the island (and indeed, capital of all the Balearic Islands). Long a center for enthusiast of contemporary art, the event La Nit de l’Art (“Night of Art” in Catalan) marks the beginning of a series of new exhibitions and events in the dynamic local art world throughout the fall – showcasing modern-art chops that are already impressive and becoming ever more so each passing year.
The Nit de l’Art is a typically Spanish event, combining the spirit of fiesta with the latest in modern art, installations, and the opening of new galleries. The entire area between the tree-lined Passeig des Born (the city’s leafy main thoroughfare, its answer to Barcelona‘s Rambles) to tiny, cobbled side streets like Carrer de Paraires is transformed into a big party, with thousands of locals plus hordes of visitors and art enthusiasts from all over the world (some 15,000, all told) descend into Palma for a night of music, art exhibitions, street theatre, cava sparkling wine, and tapas. (And even if you aren’t all that interested in contemporary art, this is a Palma experience like no other, with a unique atmosphere.)
From 7 pm to midnight, old and new art galleries – of which Palma features hundreds – stay open and admit everybody free of charge. Cava flows freely, and people meander from one gallery to the next to be awed by the never ending imagination of modern artists of several nationalities. More established venues like Casal Solleric, Can Badaguer and Galería K are of course prominent, but so are various newcomers. What’s more, even some private collectors open their doors, and historic buildings will be illuminated by light shows. You can pick up a full programme at any of the galleries to plan your very own personal nit.
Stick No Bills
Prominent among the new galleries this year is Stick No Bills, the second location of a flagship based in Sri Lanka, of all places, and with a strong online presence. This cosy gallery specialises in a vast collection of retro posters, such as vintage images of the port of Sóller, the La Palma cathedral, and the Majorca seaside of the 1960s. If you’re looking for an especially cool souvenir of your stay in Palma, a poster from Stick No Bills is a great option – not least because part of the proceeds for each purchase go to charity.
Also prominent in the Nit de l’Art but a fantastic experience all year round are two longtime stalwarts of the Palma de Mallorca art scene:
One of Spain’s most important museums of modern and contemporary art, housed in a 16th-century military fortress overlooking the bay, it displays more than 600 works in both permanent and rotating exhibitions. Es Baluard’s emphasis is on the diversity of artistic expression during the latter half of the 20th century to the present day by way of paintings, sculpture, drawings, photography and installations. Its programme for this fall promises to be even more diverse, with four new exhibitions, among them ” Them and Us”, which focuses on the interaction between the animal world and human society.
Although he was born in Barcelona, the mother and wife (the above-referenced Pilar) of one of Spain’s most illustrious painters and sculptors were Mallorquín, and in 1956 Miró bought a house and studio in Cala Major, a beach town just a short drive up the coast from Palma proper); what attracted him to Majorca, where he spent many holidays as a child, were the light of the island, as well as its siuxells, local clay whistles which feature in some of his paintings. After his death in 1983, the house was transformed into a museum, which apart from its permanent exhibition of about 100 works by Miró (as well as others such as Barceló, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Picasso) this fall features “Miró, a Wild Spirit“, exploring the roots of his art from primitive cultures to popular art – the “wild” being a reference to his fauvism period.
Inka Piegsa-Quischotte is an attorney turned travel writer/photographer, currently based in Alicante, Spain, whose work has appeared at GoNomad, GoWorldTravel, EuropeupClose, and BBC Travel. Her blog GlamourGrannyTravels.com is dedicated to female baby boomers who love to travel in style and comfort.