On paper, Palma de Majorca may seem lacking; there’s no Guggenheim here, or any other dazzling building made to grace magazine covers. However, in recent decades the capital of the Balearic Islands has become a cultural metropolis, attracting cosmopolitan travelers from around the world. And it’s all because of sustainable projects, lively galleries and enticing initiatives that have helped it transcend clichés and reestablish its charm.
To unlock its potential, there’s no need for books or specialized guides. Just let go, open your mind and allow yourself to be drawn in by the different universes that artists create here. Because if one thing defines this new side of Palma, it’s the way that contemporary art and architecture engage in a lively dialogue with the leading players: the city, its spaces and its monuments.
Everything by Miró
There are several factors that explain this Balearic metropolis’ cultural renewal. On the one hand, there’s the port and its commercial activity, which has always been an open door to the world and its influences. On the other, there’s the unbeatable climate that, during the Romantic period, attracted musicians like Chopin and writers like Robert Graves to the island of Majorca. And finally, there’s the city’s awareness of the need to reopen and rebrand its forgotten monuments.
Besides these factors—which could exist anywhere in the world—there’s another key element: Joan Miró, the great genius of abstraction, whose shapes and landscapes form part of the Majorcan identity.
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Of bastions and galleries
Es Baluard is the cultural beating heart of this city center. Built on the old bastion of Sant Pere, it’s a unique space featuring ancient stone and Corten steel walkways that connect rooms exhibiting the best of the island’s various national collections, as well as those belonging to other patrons connected to Majorca. The result is incredible, featuring pieces by the first Spanish avant-garde artists (Rusiñol and Sorolla), other Europeans (Munch, Picasso, Van Dongen and more) and the stars of today’s art scene, including established names like Abramovic, Calatrava and Barceló.
Even beyond the artists it shows, Es Baluard has become an essential and enjoyable stop on any stroll through Palma de Majorca thanks to its terrace and panoramic views.
The momentum of this space has encouraged the city’s art galleries to open up more to the public as well. The Art Palma Contemporari and AIGAB associations have emerged as significant cultural supporters, with initiatives like Nit de l'Art, an evening full of all kinds of activities. There’s also Art Palma Brunch, a Sunday morning in March where this weekend activity par excellence is paired with new talents in painting and sculpture.
Unexpected modernity and modernism
The combination of the latest creative trends with Palma’s monumental character is a genre in and of itself. The city's iconic cathedral has always served as a meeting place for new and diverse styles. Gaudí led remodeling efforts at the beginning of the 20th century, leaving his mark in the form of a heavenly baldachin.
Fifteen years ago, Miquel Barceló painted a mural here in Saint Peter’s Chapel, in which he used clay and multicolored ceramics in an expressionistic style.