“We are pleased to bring a diverse group of incredibly successful contemporary American creators to inspire Spain’s next generation of artists,” said Ambassador Costos. “To make it in today’s art world, creators must also be entrepreneurs. These events not only expose Spanish youth to a few of the amazing artists represented in our Art in Embassies exhibition, it will offer them a vision of how to turn creative dreams into reality.”
In February of 2015, Art in Embassies (AIE) and U.S. Embassy Madrid collaborated on a series of public outreach and exchange events, in conjunction with the AIE art exhibition at the residence of U.S Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, James Costos, in Madrid. The ambitious exhibition was co-curated by AIE’s Virginia Shore and interior designer Michael Smith, as a tribute to cultural diversity. The exhibition features significant works by American and Spanish artists such as: Theaster Gates, Cristina Iglesias, Juan Muñoz, Glenn Ligon, Josef Albers, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Susan Rothenberg, Pat Steir, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, Walton Ford, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Philip Taafe, Ed Ruscha, Julie Mehretu, Eduardo Chillida, Antonio Saura, Antoni Tàpies, Esteban Vincente, and Javier Romero.
The first public event, a lecture on Tuesday, February 17, at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, featured internationally acclaimed American artists Theaster Gates and Glenn Ligon, in conversation with The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Director Thelma Golden. Through textual paintings, neon installations and film, the work of Glenn Ligon inhabits the vocabulary of the North American conceptual legacy, breaking it down with an invisible language, subject and context. Theaster Gates, meanwhile, is part of the committed Chicago art scene, ranging from Leon Golub to Kerry James Marshall, adding aspects of black material culture to performance art. Both Ligon and Gates responded in the conversation with Golden to the question of how they think about an art that is aware of both its difference and its centrality.
Following the engaging conversation at Reina Sofia, U.S. Embassy Madrid organized an outreach event with high school students on Wednesday, February 18, at the Matadero Contemporary Arts Center. With an audience of approximately 100 students, this cross cultural exchange provided an opportunity for the students and Theaster Gates, Thelma Golden and AIE curator Virginia Shore to discuss their careers, inspirations and life choices.