The Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who died in 1926 at the age of 73, was active during the turbulent early years of the 20th century, a looming figure on the Barcelona art scene. The city’s character wouldn’t be the same without his Art Nouveau basilica Sagrada Familia or his breathtaking Park Güell, not to mention his Casa Milà and Casa Batlló. Research and biographies have described Gaudí as an isolated mystic, one who used work to moat himself from the world. In fact, he was quite connected to the world around him, and the works he created were very much in line with the times. Gaudí’s modernism reflected the artistic transformations of the fin de siècle, and his architecture was not “formalist” but symbolic. This monumental exhibition, which later travels to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, recognizes Gaudi’s role in society as a radical firmly grounded in politics. —E.C.