Malta’s First Contemporary Art Museum Gears Up for Fall Opening

The Malta International Contemporary Art Space has announced programming for its first two years.

Rendering of new MICAS entrance. Photo: IPO Studios. Courtesy of Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS).

This October, the Mediterranean island nation of Malta will see the opening of its very first institution dedicated to contemporary art: the Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS). Set against the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ospizio, a 17th-centry fortress that boasts views of the capital city of Valletta, the new MICAS campus will occupy more than 90,000 square feet, featuring just over 15,000 square feet of indoor gallery space as well as outdoor sculpture gardens, restored Ospizio fortifications, a shop, and café.

Rendering of new MICAS entrance interior. Photo: IPO Studios. Courtesy of MICAS.

Rendering of new MICAS entrance interior. Photo: IPO Studios. Courtesy of Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS).

“MICAS will help strengthen Malta’s cultural infrastructure by providing a platform for contemporary art locally and globally, and by raising public awareness for the way art and artists help mediate and interpret the world we live in,” said MICAS CEO and chair of the board Phyllis Muscat.

Ahead of the opening, the inaugural exhibition program has been unveiled, revealing the first two years of shows.

Portrait of Joana Vasconcelos standing ona. table in a brown dress surrounded by various artmaking objects.

Artist Joana Vasconcelos. Photo: Arlindo Camacho. Courtesy of the artist.

The first exhibition will be a solo for Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, on view October 2024 through March 2025, presenting a selection of installations that home in on themes of the domestic as well as three major works that engage with ideas around human existence. Shown in conjunction with each other, the two bodies of work exemplify Vasconcelos’ deft explorations of everyday life and the imperative of emotional and spiritual understanding to navigate existence.

“Two of the many reasons we wanted to work with Joana on our first exhibition is that she has the unique ability through her work to engage audiences in her large-scale installations that appropriate many traditional crafts and explore universal themes, including gender and cultural politics,” said MICAS artistic director Edith Devaney. “We also believe she would be engaged in showing this work within the raw gallery spaces with their backdrop of dramatic and beautiful exposed, excavated walls before we undertake an interior fit out.”

Michele Oka Doner, The Palm Goddess for Malta (2022). Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta, Malta. Photo: Sean Mallia. Courtesy of Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS).

Michele Oka Doner, The Palm Goddess for Malta (2022). Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta, Malta. Photo: Sean Mallia. Courtesy of Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS).

Following the Vasconcelos show, MICAS will present a sweeping group exhibition of leading Malta-based contemporary artists, “Malta in Focus,” opening May 2025, underscoring the museum’s commitment to fostering and promoting Maltese art on the greater international art world stage. Opening in October 2025 will be the show “Milton Avery and His Influence on Contemporary Art,” exploring the seminal American painter’s place as “an artist’s artist,” with work from across the many decades of his career installed together with a selection of work by contemporary artists such as Harold Ancart, Gary Hume, and Nicolas Party.

Conrad Shawcross, Beacons (2021). Courtesy of Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS). Three round pinwheel shaped sculptures in multicolor installed across a medieval fortress wall.

Conrad Shawcross, Beacons (2023). Courtesy of Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS).

Further along in the exhibition program, 2026 will see the museum host a Reggie Burrows Hodges solo exhibition as well as another group show concentrating on Malta’s history, culture, and geographic location through the lens of contemporary art. These will also coincide with the full opening of the sculpture garden, which among other works will feature a newly commissioned sculpture by Maltese artist Ray Pitre. Ahead of its opening, in November of this year, an exhibition of Pitre’s drawings, paintings, and small sculptures pertaining to the commissioned piece will be on view free of charge. Already installed on the fortification walls overlooking the harbor is the work of British sculptor Conrad Shawcross.

Conrad Shawcross, The Dappled Light of the Sun (Formation I) (2015). Courtesy of Malta International Contemporary Art Space (MICAS).

Both the opening of MICAS itself and the dynamic, wide-ranging exhibition program mark a pivotal moment for Malta. Not only will the museum bring world-class contemporary art to locals, it will also establish the island nation’s standing as a major player on the international art scene—and it promises to be a not-to-be-missed site for art enthusiasts.

Learn more about MICAS 2024–2026 Exhibition Program here.


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