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New Terraces Open; Guernica Being Preserved

Winter Shows Highlight Nancy Spero, Alberto Garcia-Alix, Zoe Leonard Films by Narkevicius


Madrid, SPAIN, December 10, 2008 – Madrid’s Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) is taking on numerous ambitious projects.  Less than four years have passed since Jean Nouvel designed a striking new addition to the structure, which had been designed as Madrid’s General Hospital in 1781 by Francisco Sabatini and Juan de Hermosilla, and then converted to an art center in 1980.   Under the guidance of its new director, Manuel Borja-Villel, the city’s contemporary art museum will expand and feature new offerings to the public. 

      In Borja-Villel’s short tenure thus far, the museum has already acquired a dozen new works, by artists such as Medardo Rosso and George Grosz (valued at $5.5 million or 4 million euros).  Borja-Villel hopes to diversify and increase the museum’s exhibitions, but his ambitions go beyond the artwork housed in the museum, to the museum’s spaces themselves.    

      The museum inaugurated one of Nouvel’s concepts for the building at the beginning of August, opening up its sixth-floor terraces free to the public from 10 AM to 9 PM.  Nouvel envisioned the museum as the inverse of most grand buildings – where the public spaces are on lower floors – and aimed to create a public square at the top of the building.  The semi-covered terrace space created of glass and reflective materials will mirror the spectacular views of Madrid.  For 2009, the museum will develop a series of happenings, poetry readings and dance performances to take place in this unusual venue. 

      The Reina Sofía is also undertaking renovations (throughout which the museum will remain fully open) projected to be finished in 2010.  Modifications and restorations will touch upon both the building’s interior and exterior.  Original windows that had been covered over will be re-opened between exhibit halls to allow natural light in.  The Sabatini façade will be restored and a new entrance for groups created.  The art storage area will be modified to allow for greater public exhibition space, and the restoration workshop will be allotted additional room.  The museum café will be refurbished, and the old bookshop will be converted into a gallery – soon to house a temporary exhibit by Richard Serra. 

      Also projected for 2010 is a complete study on the museum’s most famous work, Picasso’s Guernica, currently undergoing a series of minute tests from x-rays to infrared to determine its state of preservation.   

       This winter, the museum is presenting a number of interesting exhibitions including a major retrospective on sculptor Julio González:

¨       Important works by American feminist artist, Nancy Spero, a crucial figure on the New York anti-establishment scene in the 1960s and 1970s, which highlight her quest for a personal idiom (through January 5, 2009).


¨       “From where there’s no coming back,” a reflective exhibition on the works and life of Spanish photographer, Alberto Garcia-Alix, will be shown through February 23, 2009.  More than 200 images – along with a video – will illustrate the significance of photography in this artist’s life.


¨       Dedicated to German art historian and critic Carl Einstein (1885-1940), “The Invention of the 20th Century,” will connect Einstein’s intellectual work with the art, literature, and cinema produced by artists whom he researched throughout his life. Also included will be a selection of African and Oceanic sculpture, which played a key role in inspiring Cubism (through February 16, 2009).


¨       Through February 16, 2009, 160 images from New York photographer Zoe Leonard will be on display, including her most significant works from the 1970s up to the present.


¨       Ten films from Lithuanian artist Diemantas Narkevicius will be shown through February 16, 2009. After studying sculpture at the Vilnius Academy of Art in the early 90s, Narkevicius began exploring, through film, the psychological implications of contemporary society in the 20th century.


¨       More than 200 works by renowned artist Julio González, one of the re-inventors of sculpture in the 20th century, will be on display March 11 to June 1, 2009.  The show will include works in iron and bronze, an extensive selection of drawings, and a significant display of jewelry.

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