An exclusive interview with Sara Puig, President of the Fundació Joan Miró
Long before Antares appeared on the Barcelona skyline, the city was renowned for art and design with the artist Joan Miró as one of its most famous sons. This week, in an exclusive interview, the Antares team talked to Sara Puig, President of the Fundació Joan Miró about the museum Miró himself established, its upcoming exhibitions and the legacy he established for emerging and established artists.
Sara also outlines her own career in the arts and shares some of her favourite Barcelona locations, including a contemporary tapas restaurant and an outstanding photographic museum in a landmark El Born 19th Century building.
This month saw the publication of The Wealth Report 2023, global real estate agency Knight Frank’s 17th annual report looking at prime property markets, global wealth distribution and the opportunities for investors in the year ahead. Its Prime International Residential Index (PIRI 100) tracks the performance of prime prices across 100 key locations, revealing that Barcelona saw a 7% price growth last year, easily outpacing the global city average of 4.2% and the overall PIRI 100 average of 5.2%. What was behind the price growth? The report noted: “Wealth preservation, safe-haven capital flights and supply constraints played their part along with the post-pandemic transition to hybrid working. For the world’s wealthy, this increased their appetite to buy.”
The Antares team
Sara Puig, President of the Fundació Joan Miró
Visitors to Barcelona see them and are struck by their beauty: the bold artworks of celebrated painter, sculptor, and ceramicist, Joan Miró. A mural he created, the largest wall mosaic in Spain, can be found at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport. Another is found at Joan Miró Park at the Plaça d’Espanya for visitors traveling by car. One more is the Pla de l’Os mosaic in the Plaza de la Boquería in the heart of La Rambla which welcomes visitors arriving by sea.
In addition to gifting his own art collection and paying for half of the construction of the building for The Fundació Joan Miró, Miró gifted these works, to the city as a way to welcome visitors – as they travel by land, air or sea – and remind them of the rich artistry found throughout Barcelona. And while Miró passed away in 1983, his legacy lives on through The Fundació Joan Miró. Located along Montjuïc stunning hillside, the modern art museum showcases works of twentieth and twenty-first century artists, alongside Miró’s own works.
We sat down with Sara Puig, the President of the Fundació Joan Miró, to learn more about the institution, its history, upcoming exhibits and get her insider’s take of must-visit Barcelona hot spots.
Can you tell us how you first got involved with the arts?
Sara Puig: After receiving my degree in art history from the University of Barcelona, I moved to New York to obtain my Master’s from NYU. My dream came true when I received the opportunity to work at the Museum of Modern Art, where I stayed for three years before relocating to Barcelona. Later, I got in touch with a Spanish collector who wanted to open her private collection of artworks to the public. At the Fundació, I have been on the Board of Trustees since November 2013 and a member of the Executive Committee since November 2014.
What is the Fundació Joan Miró?
Sara Puig: The Fundació Joan Miró was created by Miró himself. With an interdisciplinary approach, it organises exhibitions of 20th and 21st century artists as well as academic activities and projects in collaboration with other institutions and organisations. It opened to the public in June 1975 and has since become an internationally recognised centre in which Miró’s work is shown along with cutting-edge contemporary art.
What is one of the Fundació Joan Miró main goals?
Sara Puig: Miró felt it was very important to bring awareness to emerging local and established international artists. Since the foundation’s inception, it has played a crucial role in discovering new artists and emerging talent to present them to the public. One of Jaume Plensa’s first exhibitions was at the Fundació and now he is celebrated around the world.
How would you describe the overall art scene in Barcelona compared to other European cities? What excites you the most about this community?
Sara Puig: The city itself plays a big role in the overall art scene. There are a lot of young artists and talent who come here to explore their talent. The city is a major destination that celebrates and encourages artists in all the formats and in combination with technology and innovation.
What is coming up for the museum?
Sara Puig: There’s always something happening here. There is a new exhibition that opens in March called Imaginary Friends. It’s an interactive exhibition for visitors of any age, particularly kids to learn more about contemporary art. The exhibits are by multigenerational artists from different backgrounds. The installations are interactive and reflect topical issues linked to play and leisure, and other concerns that the artists have addressed in their works. Next fall, we will hold an exhibition focused on Miró and Picasso since both artists’ gave part of their collection to the city after achieving notoriety, honoring the 100th anniversary of Picasso’s passing. In 2025 we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the museum.
Top Tips: We asked Sara Puig to give us her insider tips of where to go in Barcelona.
I recently went to this tapas restaurant in the Gothic Corner, Capet, and the food was delicious. Tapas are traditionally served on bread but this space puts on a unique twist by offering several gluten-free and vegan dishes and only using products with local and organic origins. The service was also great, which isn’t always easy to find. Ha!
Bestial, a restaurant and lounge on the beach in Barcelona. Serving Mediterranean dishes, the restaurant is surrounded by olive trees and features a multi-level terrace with beach views. The space is perfect for sitting and watching the crowds go by.
In Tibidabo Hill, on the opposite side of Miro, there’s La Venta. It’s an older building with lots of character with high quality food. From the top you can see the whole city as well as the sea. The neighborhood is lively with lots of bars and restaurants surrounding.
In the heart of the Born district inside a historic 19th-century building, Foto Colectania is a private foundation that specializes in photography. Foto Colectania hosts exhibitions, activities and produces publications designed to disseminate photography throughout Spanish society while working to generate critical thinking through images and their ability to communicate.