The Modern Art Museum of Medellin (also known as MAMM) is a space where the limits of art are constantly challenged. Since it was founded in 1978, it has been consolidating as one of the most important cultural institutions in Medellín.

By visiting the MAMM you will look into the city from an unconventional perspective. This is the type of museum where instead of appreciating the vestiges of the past, the visitors can interact with provocative artworks by national and international artists.

If you want to live a groundbreaking experience that changes the way you perceive Medellín and the world, get ready for a visit to the epicenter of Ciudad del Río with the following recommendations.

Location

The MAMM is located within Ciudad del Río, just before reaching the northern area of the linear park. Walk right ahead Calle 20, in front of the Pórtico square and diagonally to the Ibis Hotel.

If you need the exact adress it is: Carrera 44 N° 19A – 100. You will recognize it right away by its imposing structure, which looks like a series of concrete boxes stacked and rotated one on top of the other.

Getting there

These are the available transportation options: Metro, bus, taxi, ridesharing apps (we suggest Uber, Didi and Cabify). If you prefer, you can also go in your private vehicle or your bike.

The Metro is most reliable one because the ticket only costs $3,280 ($0.6 usd). The closest metro station is Industriales.

When you exit the turnstiles of line A, you must walk across the bridge to the right until you reach the Punto Clave shopping center.

You’ll know you’re heading in the right direction if you see the huge Bancolombia headquarters building. Once you are in Punto Clave, the rest is very simple, you just have to walk in a straight line to the south along Av. Los Industriales (also known as Avenida Las Vegas).

Stop when you see a square with a large portico that guards the old façade of the Talleres Robledo. Both structures were preserved as memories of the iron and steel activity that characterized the neighborhood. Behind them is the entrance to MAMM.

Keep in mind that public transportattion is usually very busy during its rush hours (from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.). If you prefer comfort, do not hesitate to call a taxi or request a car through the ridesharing apps.

If you have doubts, ask! The road is quite safe and there are usually security guards or shopkeepers on the day who will give you all the instructions you need. Just be aware that they probably don’t speak english.

My last advise is to avoid walking from the Metro to the Museum if it’s night, since Av. Los Industriales is quite lonely at that time.

Open Times

The hours vary depending on the services you want to access at MAMM, which is why they are divided into 3 sections: Museum, Shop and Study Room (a quiet space where you have free access to Wi-Fi, computers and bibliographic material related to the art). The hours are:

  • Museum: Tuesday to Friday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. / Saturday, Sunday and holidays 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. / Monday and Tuesday after public holidays the Museum and the Study Room are closed.
  • Store: Monday 11 a.m. – 5 pm. / Tuesday to Friday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. / Saturday, Sunday and holidays 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Study Room / Free admission: Tuesday to Friday 11 a.m. – 5 pm. / Closed Saturday, Sunday and holidays.

Parking

Ciudad del Río has open-air parking cells operated by officials from the Mayor’s Office who wear blue vests (full rate per hour: Vehicles $4,400. Motorcycles $2,500.). Remember to bring cash; It is the only way to pay for this service.

Regarding the MAMM parking lot, it has independent hours that are usually longer than those of the museum, which is quite good if, in addition to your visit to the facilities, you want to spend some time in Ciudad del Río doing some of the activities that we describe in another post on our blog.

The rate is free for the first 15 minutes. From then on, they charge full hourly rate: Vehicles $3,200. Motorcycles $1,900. The bicycle service is free.

You can pay with cash, card (debit or credit) and transfer (but it’s an underground parking lot, so don’t trust your cell phone signal down there). Times for parking are:

  • Monday to Wednesday, Sundays and holidays 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. / Thursday to Saturday 8 a.m. – 12 am.

Tickets

The price to enter MAMM also changes according to the services. In general, admission costs $18,000 COP ($3.75 USD) for non-resident foreigners.

This ticket gives you access to all exhibitions. Although in the assembly seasons that occur every 3 to 6 months, when it is only possible to access the works of the permanent collection, the ticket price drops by 50%.

If you want to go to the movies, the entrance to the Theater costs $10,000 COP ($2 USD) for the general public and $7,000 for adults over 60, children under 12 and students with ID. Keep in mind that, although you can buy your tickets online, these discounts only apply if you buy them directly at the museum box office.

There are always very friendly people that can speak English and are willing to help you. In addition, they offer free lockers to those who wish to store their belongings during the visit. I recommend you eat before entering, since drinks or food cannot be brought in and the tour lasts approximately 2 hours.

But if you need to take your things with you, there is no problem either; just try to take your photos without flash and be careful not to accidentally knock over a museum piece with your backpack (has already happened!). It’s the same reason they don’t allow pets inside either.

The MAMM has a philosophy of free tours, so you don’t need to pay any guide. Inside you will find mediators and even volunteers who are trained to give you general information about the museum, its history or the exhibited works. And at the entrance to each room there is a bilingual description (Spanish – English) to guide your experience.

However, if you are going in a group and intend to receive a more personalized tour, you can call the museum in advance and arrange it. The cost of these tours can be around $15,000 COP (3.12 usd) per person, but the guide is given in Spanish; if you don’t speak the language make sure you go with someone who can translate the information for you.

The MAMM programming, both the Museum and the Theater, is subject to modifications due to special events or contingencies. So before you go make sure you check https://www.elmamm.org/ to get the most out of the experience.

History

It all began in 1978 with the donation of various works by the nine founding artists: Beatriz González, Hugo Zapata, Álvaro Marín, Javier Restrepo, Juan Camilo Uribe, John Castles, Marta Elena Vélez, Germán Botero and Rodrigo Callejas.

At first, the museum’s headquarters were in Carlos E. Restrepo, a neighborhood where intellectuals, professors, students, and cultural managers lived.

Many important events occurred there; among them colloquia, exhibitions, programs to encourage young artists and even an explosive attack against the museum in 1989.

But despite that, the collection continued to strengthen thanks to significant donations from artists such as Débora Arango, who delivered 233 of her paintings while she was alive.

The growth of this collection was one of the reasons for receiving in 2006 the support of a new headquarters by the mayor’s office. Thus, the MAMM was part of the urban renewal that gave rise to Ciudad del Río.

In 2009 the definitive transfer to the Talleres Robledo building took place, which in the past had been used for steel and metal casting. This meant a greater revitalization of the collection and the creation of international exhibition circuits and artistic training strategies for citizens.

It also encouraged the Extended Night, a meeting space on the last Friday of each month, where the museum remains open until 10 p.m., admission is with a voluntary contribution and the tour is complemented by cultural programming that includes an open-air cinema show in the square.

Almost immediately, an expansion project financed by the government and private entities was undertaken, which culminated in 2015 and allowed the inclusion of new exhibition halls, a theater for 256 people, several laboratories, spaces for coffee, a bookstore and shops, areas for services and programs of education and culture.

With all this, the MAMM receives more than 100,000 curious visitors like you every year.

Architecture

The current design of MAMM, completed after its last remodeling in 2015, is inspired by the city of Medellín itself.

It is a mixture of the ancient and the modern, as it preserves the Talleres Robledo industrial warehouse on its first floor, hoisting on it a series of blocks with surfaces of various materials, that run through the facades folding into a collage of concrete, glass and metal.

The proposal, with a size of 7,220 m2, was in charge of 51-1 Arquitectos (Peru) and Ctrl-G (Colombia). They wanted to capture the essence of the peripheral communes of Medellín, whose “architecture without architects adapts to the steep topography of the valley, generating a network of circulations, terraces and viewpoints facing the landscape and mixed with the street”, as explained by Catalina Patiño, of Ctrl-G.

Artworks

Something curious is that 100% of the pieces in the MAMM are donations. This is how the museum began in 1978 and, since then, the permanent collection has grown to house the works of 60 artists, including Débora Arango and Hernando Tejada.

If you think that this is not enough, think that there are more than 2,000 artworks; without counting the rest of the artists in the temporary collections that change every 3 to 6 months.

That is why the building has 5 floors; although the second are the offices; the third is where the Theater and the laboratories are; and the fifth is a terrace from which you will have a great view of the park and the city.

On the first floor are the Study Room and Rooms A, B, C, D and Foundries (former industrial warehouse of Talleres Robledo). That’s where the temporary exhibits are usually displayed. Don’t worry if it’s closed for some new setup.

The permanent collection will always be available on the fourth floor, where more than 2,000 works rotate constantly in 3 rooms (E, F, G) that represent different relevant events in the museum’s memory:

On paper: this moment reviews the origin and growth of the MAMM collection since 1978, with a group of works donated by the founding artists two years before having a physical space.

Non-objectualism: this moment rescues the photographic records and archives of the 1st Colloquium on Non-object Art and Urban Art, held at the old MAMM headquarters in 1981.

What was left: the attack that the MAMM was a victim of in 1989, when a bomb damaged part of its facilities, is commemorated here.

The excluded: a collection of artworks and artists who were marginalized from some spheres of art or who achieved recognition due to their treatment of taboo subjects.

Cinema

It would not be a Museum of Modern Art if the audiovisual did not have its share. And, personally, one of the things I love most about MAMM is its Theater because it is the best place in the city to see alternative movies.

Unfortunately, drinks and food cannot be entered there either. But a plus is that if you present the butt of your ticket you can get a 10% discount in the parking lot (also applies with the sticker to enter the Museum).

Its programming goes from Thursday to Sunday and it is important to always look at the official website to confirm possible changes in the agenda.

Museum Store

To top it off, you can ask at the ticket office for a purchase voucher from the MAMM Store, located on the first floor, between the parking lot and the entrance to the museum.

There you will find stationery, desk and kitchen accessories, jewelry, clothing, leather goods and even special collections designed by the artists of the season.

Let me tell you, some things can be expensive (especially clothing and jewelry). But even if you have a small budget you can take home something from the city with the stamp of our artists.