February 16, 2016

Taking Art to the Heart

Art.  Sometimes you get it, most of the time you don’t.

With a trifecta of art museums in my backyard (Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Museo Reina Sofia) I’ve tried to be proactive about exposing myself to the exclusive masterpieces of Madrid.  A few visits to the Prado, whose pieces dates anywhere from the Middle Ages to the 19th century,  seemed to confirm my disinterest in the traditional museum experience.  Not allowing one location to spoil them all, though, my friends and I visited the modern Museo Reina Sofia to see what it had to offer.

The ancient art of the Prado is much different than that of the contemporary Reina Sofia.  To some, that may be obvious, but with terms like modernism and post-modernism, I did not know what to expect.  At the Prado, I respected the talent of the artists, but I was soon bored staring into yet another face of a chubby cherub or stately sir.

The art at the Reina Sofia made me think.  I considered less what the piece meant, but instead of what the artist was thinking during creation.  The museum displayed works of well-known artists like Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, but the majority was from artists whose names I did not recognize.  One of my favorite exhibits was Constant Nieuwenhuys’s New Babylon, specifically, the Door Labyrinth.  Though it was just a maze of fluid passages, the message behind the work made my friends and I all stop and think.  Constant wanted to change preconceived perceptions for both the people who would live in the world he created, New Babylon, and for the public, who would experience his work.  He knew that naturally, many people would become afraid when lost in the labyrinth.  His hope, however, was to transform cowardice into curiosity and creativity, where a dead-end would promote forward thinking instead of fear.  The labyrinth, a symbol for discovery and new possibilities, relates to where I am in life both physically and mentally.  It was a reminder to continue to look on the bright side of difficult situations and to invent positivity, so that nothing can go wrong.


Happy (birth)Day Bakery

In a city full of pastries, searching for a cupcake in Madrid is like looking for a needle in a haystack.  My roommate was turning 20 years old, and we all know that food is the best way to celebrate, but it just wouldn’t have been the same sticking a candle into a napolitana de chocolate.

Inquiries led me to Happy Day Bakery, located in the ever-hip Malasaña.  Nestled among the many other tiny shops in the neighborhood, Happy Day Bakery had cupcakes and cookies in abundance, a strange sight for a bakery in Spain.  Continuing with their “appeal-to-Americans” theme, one could buy Duncan Hines brownie mix, Jif peanut butter, and even Lucky Charms!  I ordered cupcakes in flavors of cookies and cream, double chocolate, and red velvet.  Though the cupcakes were, expectedly, subpar, they were a nice taste of familiarity and a sweet birthday surprise.


Travel Tips

  • Bring peanut butter to Spain. I haven’t discussed Spain’s peanut butter deficiency because my only true affection for it is when it is paired with chocolate in a Reese’s cup.  I understand, however, that some people simply can’t live without it, in which case, you would die in Spain.  Peanut butter is difficult to find (though, as one can expect, El Corte Inglés usually has it), and costs more than it does in the United States, so if you’re a peanut butter aficionado and you’re planning a visit to Spain, leave room in your suitcase for some precious jars.


Destination Locations



Paz, Amor, Madrid




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