The richly historic cities of Spain easily bring to mind old-world art, architecture and culture, yet visitors will be thrilled to find modern art in Valencia is just outside the door! Guest contributors Amalia & Eric of Move to Travelling share their discoveries found in a city that offers much to discerning lovers of art!

The richly historic cities of Spain easily bring to mind old-world art, architecture and culture, yet visitors will be thrilled to find modern art in Valencia is just outside the door! Guest contributors Amalia & Eric of Move to Travelling share their discoveries found in a city that offers much to discerning lovers of art!
When we recently lived in Valencia for several months, we got to know the city well and would say that the biggest memory we took away with us was the burgeoning culture of modern art in this very ancient city. It seemed to greet us practically at every turn, in a down-to-earth way that became part of our day-to-day lives.

In this article, we share our ideas on where you can experience modern art in Valencia.

 

Museums and Cultural Centres

modern art in Valencia

The Carmen Cultural Center in the Carmen Neighborhood (Barrio del Carmen).

 

While a newer, modern facade may seem like the more obvious place to find modern art in Valencia, many modern art exhibits can also be found in the more classic museums and cultural centres that are housed in the countless historical buildings.

Many of these have been beautifully renovated and are tucked away in the midst of residential areas and down quaint cobblestone alleys. Usually while running errands or going out to enjoy drinks and tapas, we discovered by accident some of the ones that became our favourites.

Many say that the most important museum for modern art in Spain (and much of Europe) is the Valencia Institute of Modern Art (IVAM or in Spanish Instituto Valencia de Arte Moderno). Opening in 1989 it was the very first centre in Spain created exclusively for modern art. Its architecture and facade are obvious to its more singular artistic purpose and style.

Then there are others, like our favourite, the Carmen Cultural Centre (Spanish: Consorci de Museus de la Comunitat Valenciana) which is now associated with the well-known Bellas Artes Museo de Valencia. Tucked away in a 13th century convent, this gorgeously romantic building is today the heart of the Barrio del Carmen, one of the most famous historic neighbourhoods in the old centre of Valencia.

modern art in Valencia

The amazing modern art exhibit of our friends, Encarna and Carolina.

 

This is where we recently attended the opening night of a modern art exhibit called ‘Angels del Buit’ (in the Valencian language). The artists, Encarna Sepúlveda and Carolina Ferrer, are an amazing couple from Spain who we became friends with and first met while renting their AirBnB flat in the city’s historic center.

After decades of successful international careers in modern art, that exhibit was their first joint project and public exhibition together. That exhibition is to-date one of the most experiential art experiences we’ve ever had. You can read more about it in our article ‘A Captivating Exhibition of Modern Art in Valencia’.

 

New, Thriving Neighborhoods Like Ruzafa

Visitors to Valencia may likely have heard of the eclectic Ruzafa neighborhood. It is well-known for its amazing array of restaurants, bars and cafes. For locals and foreigners alike, it is also considered the hip, thriving place in Valencia for creatives, entrepreneurs and artists. Just looking back at pictures from our time there has our mouths watering and our hearts beating faster!

A space like this naturally breeds private and public galleries, especially of modern art. This art can often be enjoyed while savouring coffee at a cafe like Dulce de Leche or enjoying drinks and tapas and perhaps a new book at Ubik Café Cafetería Librería.

modern art in Valencia

 

Modern art lover or not, make sure to spend time in what is still the neighborhood’s heart, the Mercat de Russafa (the Valencian spelling of Ruzafa). Its outer facade is quite the throw-back, still giving homage to what has been referred to by Condé Nast Traveller as ‘Mediterranean brutalism dating back to 1957’. It still speaks loudly to the expression of modern art for the people of that time.

However, what Ruzafa truly has to offer up for modern art is in its street art. Walking around the streets is like a thrilling game of discovery. But wait…this is not limited to just this one exciting neighborhood. You can find street art throughout all of Valencia, especially its city center.

 

Valencia’s Street Art

modern art in Valencia

This surreal mural is next to Valencia’s Botanical Gardens.

 

One of our favourite things about Valencia is the ever-imaginative array of street art that has taken the city by storm. It can be found around every corner, from towering large murals that cover the sides of entire buildings to smaller stencilled images in inconspicuous alleys that serve as an artist’s signature.

The bright, vibrant colours and other-worldly characters tell so many stories. Many pieces speak out about politics and social issues, while others simply express the imagination of the artist.

HDYTI Tip: Walking is one of the best ways to enjoy modern art in Valencia, along with many of the city’s other charms which include its incredible street art.

modern art in Valencia

A great set of murals in the Carmen Neighborhood.

 

The intriguing ninja figures of street artist David de Limón have become greeters of Valencia. You discover these familiar symbols in the most random of places, down old narrow alleys and along major roads, hanging out next to parks and quaint cafes.

modern art in Valencia

We loved discovering some of David de Limón’s ninjas.

 

Another artist originally from Valencia and now internationally recognised, is Deih. One of his most popular series throughout Valencia is ‘The Insiders’. Last year, we noticed a new piece of art from this artist, a fantastic mural in the interior of the front entrance of the MYR Plaza Mercado Hotel and Spa.

One of the newer boutique hotels in Valencia’s historic district, it is located directly across from the famous Mercado Central of Valencia. We love seeing the collaboration between local businesses and street artists, taking their work beyond the street.

modern art in Valencia

One of Deih’s most popular works.

 

We encourage visitors to try a street art tour to make sure they see as many art works as possible and learn more about the many artists whose works are displayed throughout Valencia. In the meantime, enjoy our album of Valencia Street Art on our Move to Traveling Facebook Page.

 

Creative Architecture – The City of Arts and Sciences

modern art in Valencia

We see art in so many things all around us, especially architecture. So it is no surprise for us that one of the largest and most impressive displays of modern art in Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences (in Spanish, the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias).

The incredible structures are located at the end of the Turia Riverbed Park and are home to the Science Museum with a 3D Cinema and IMAX theatre, the Oceanográfic (Europe’s biggest aquarium), and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia Opera House.

modern art in Valencia

There is also the Umbracle, a gorgeous outdoor Mediterranean garden, the Assut D’or Bridge that crosses the Turia Riverbed Park, and the Ágora, the newest building and events venue. Designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava, the ‘city’ complex is now considered one of the most modern and iconic sites of Valencia.

We frequented here often during the months we lived in Valencia and every time we went, it felt like being in another world and another time. It is no wonder that several sci-fi movies have been filmed in its futuristic setting, including Guardians of the Galaxy and Disney’s Tomorrowland.

HDYTI Tip: When exploring Valencia, we highly recommend a walk through the Turia Riverbed Park, which ends right at the City of Arts and Sciences.

 

Valencia Brings Modern Art to Life

modern art in Valencia

Modern art in Valencia adds to the charm of the city’s vibrant blend of the old and the new. While culture and history are fostered and maintained, there is also encouragement for new discoveries and expressions. Creativity abounds and it is one of the highlights of visiting Valencia and living there.

Whether on a short visit or a longer stay in Valencia, you won’t have to look far to experience modern art for yourself. As you explore, you will find yourself wondering, ‘What will I see next as I walk through Valencia?’

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Modern art in Valencia, Ciudad las Artes y las Ciencias

 

 

Amalia & Eric are expats living in Spain, who run Move to Traveling. MTT offers a fresh spin on living in the world; featuring valuable resources for living a traveling lifestyle and expat life in Spain.

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