Costa Rica’s capital city San José is home to the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, the Modern Art and Design Museum, short MADC. The museum was founded in 1994 as an open and multiple space. Its goal is to define and promote the tendencies and dynamics of contemporary art and design throughout Central America. Emphasized are especially the exhibition of art works related to cultural and social issues which affect the central American region and the world.
Four exhibition galleries and one exterior exhibit space give room to changing temporary exhibitions. Furthermore, the museum has a video-library and documentation center, where you can consult audiovisual materials. In the library you will find catalogues and art as well as contemporary design books. The museum also holds a permanent collection, including a mixture of paintings, sculptures, photography, drawings and etchings. Parts of this collection are exhibited each year in the exhibition rooms. Until now, the museum has carried out a variety of individual and collective exhibitions of national and international artists.
The museum itself is rather small, but the temporary exhibitions are interesting and deal with current issues of Costa Rica’s society, which is represented in art. As an add-on to each exhibition, the museum offers a series of talks and roundtable discussions about the current exhibition and art work. Many times, an interaction between the artist and the general public is possible, as the museum features many national artists which have the possibility come for a presentation of their work.
Situated in the former site of the old national liquor factory (FANAL), the museum is located in the historical center of downtown San José. The building dates back to 1856 and is seen as one of the most important architectural sights in Costa Rica. This fact makes a visit to the museum very special, as you can not only marvel over contemporary art but also over the structure of the ancient building. Especially in the first exhibition room, the feeling of being in an old factory is still present, due to the high ceiling and the ancient wood construction under the roof. The building is not only home to the museum, but also to the National Culture Center.
The museum is located opposite the National Library and Parque Nacional. It is a close walk from the city centre.