Located just behind Taipei Main Train Station sits the Museum of Contemporary Art. The rather splendid building dates back to 1921 and was an elementary school during the Japanese occupation, but there is nothing dated about the art contained therein.
The mission of the museum is to promote both international and local contemporary art, with the stated goals of “1. to promote diverse artistic creation and exhibitions; 2. to enable the public’s new perspective and thinking; 3. to offer the development of contemporary cities continuous creativity and energy.”
The exhibits we saw certainly met these goals and were both eye catching and thought provoking. Although not art experts by any means, we (including a 9-year-old) spent a couple of hours enjoying and discussing the exhibits and what we thought they meant. There was a good mix of audio-visual, sculpture, painting, photography and more.
A large wooden box which shook violently every now and then as if something was trying to get out, a large display made from hay, an intriguing sculpture from Hualien artists, and a video of a foreigner wearing a plastic bag suit were highlights. A robotic centaur kind of creature with a head reminiscent of the main character in the film Ex Machina holding a rifle was a little disturbing for the youngest member of our party.
As the exhibits rotate on a regular basis, the best advice is to check the website to see what is currently on (http://www.mocataipei.org.tw/). And although the website is bilingual and very well done, don’t be put off by the very detailed descriptions of the exhibits if you are thinking of taking children, and also be aware that there will be more to see than listed on the site.
The exhibits are spread over two floors, and there is a cafe on the first floor for simple meals and drinks. There’s also a small gift shop. The museum is well organised and English friendly. We went on a “family day” and got in for free, but full price entry was only NT$50 per person (check the website for current details).
There are other things to see and do in the area (i.e. Futai mansion, and shopping for cameras) and there are lots of eating options as well, including Taipei Main Station. As a “weather proof” activity, it is certainly worth a visit.