Art in Embassies in Madrid

The Art in Embassies Madrid exhibition, with over eighty-two works on loan by American and Spanish artists, galleries and museums is one of the largest to date. This video showcases some of the works, artists and interior spaces of the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Madrid.

Full Transcript

0:12 let’s go ahead and hold them up and then i’m going to try to determine exactly
0:25 where we start the line the stairwell
0:27 I’m Virginia Shore chief curator of the office of art in embassies at the US
0:32 Department of State michael smith partner of the American ambassador to
0:38 Spain andorra James Kostas working with Virginia is about my desire to promote
0:44 American culture and and the arts in spain in the distance between the the
0:51 most ambitious loan exhibition that we’ve ever worked on and collaborating
0:56 with Michael and James was incredible and open many doors for the program is
1:02 over 80 works of art from Spanish and American lenders institutions galleries
1:08 artists foundations with negotiating the loans who are trying to stick within the
1:13 budget and make this happen and it took a long time and in addition to taking a
1:19 long time we had a lot of hurdles to
1:28 we’ve had many kindnesses that are beyond the average borrowing from a
1:33 corporate collection or borrowing a piece with people who are actually
1:37 personally involved in the decision to lend to us we are happy to cooperate
1:42 with this to our 10 verses program because we can’t forget that obviously
1:48 one of them made a rose particularly of this museum is the the social role that
1:55 we play mean that your legs change between distant countries it’s such a
2:00 sign of respect
2:02 they were bringing all this extraordinary Spanish are into the
2:04 American Embassy i think also to bring so much amazing American art to Spain to
2:11 be accessed by Spanish students and all of our visitors was an incredibly rich
2:16 opportunity to further this incredible relationship we have intellectually and
2:21 certainly culturally the sense of this art is for us to be able to build a
2:24 relationship with Spain so first and foremost we want people to come in and
2:28 have a conversation about art I spend most of my day having conversations that
2:34 are related to policy economics security and defence cooperation
2:39 so when you have an opportunity to spend some time to focus away from that and
2:44 use art as a way to build the relationship I think that is really what
2:48 we’re trying to to make happy
2:51 hola oh thank you all so much for coming already embassies is not just to
2:57 decorate the house it’s to really it’s to really create a dialogue on every
3:01 level of society which we’ve done we’ve had school children we’ve had curators
3:06 we had leaders it always is the thing that people talk about it’s always the
3:10 thing that starts dialing it always this thing that starts a conversation you’re
3:14 really relying on the patriotism where the curiosity often with artists are
3:20 really relying on people to say you can take my extraordinarily expensive thing
3:25 and take it to a foreign country and habits for ultimately a couple of years
3:30 without that goodwill it wouldn’t work
3:34 it’s a public-private partnership and these are artists who are committed
3:38 cultural diplomacy everything in this exhibition is online to trace the rich
3:45 history of Spain’s influence on American artists we turn to the Hispanic society
3:50 of america john singer sargent was one of the prominent American artist who
3:54 actually worked in Spain and it’s a way of sharing their work with spanish
3:59 audiences it’s an ideal collaboration of sharing us art and spanish culture in
4:06 one place i love it i have never seen all these works that’s why you i was
4:11 very happy to come because I knew the artists but if you don’t see them here
4:16 maybe if you don’t go to this date you can see him
4:20 people come up to us all the time and talk about how one of the first times
4:24 they ever saw wonderful American art was an American Embassy somewhere in the
4:29 world its soft power but its its power and its impactful AC half the works are
4:35 by Spanish artists and then that’s when it all makes sense the ambition of the
4:40 program to bring together both cultures and make it all about bringing both
4:44 cultures together amongst the major contemporary Spanish artists in this
4:50 exhibition is a sculptor Christina Iglesias is a vision
4:55 of the water as a source
5:00 I an embassy is a space that belongs to another country and is here so i’m also
5:10 interested in showing my work which is part of my culture and the culture of
5:17 this country its diverse canvas we have artists black white spanish american the
5:25 diversity of this collection i think is going to be very evident as people walk
5:29 through there are several iconic works in this exhibition but Glenn ligands
5:36 double america i would pinpoint as maybe the nexus and also represents the
5:42 broader picture and Michael and James idea for the show highlighting diversity
5:48 the piece is really about the word what that word means to various viewers both
5:59 here in America and abroad and I was thinking about how American democracy
6:04 has always had the sense of opposition’s of tremendous promise and also
6:10 tremendous amount of things wrong things that need to be fixed to be worked on me
6:17 and interesting medium because it is a sculptural and i don’t think that i
6:23 really do sculpture but i use language a lot so it’s a way of to using language
6:28 in the sculptural manner the arden MZ program is an interesting way to think
6:35 about the breadth of American culture
6:39 embassies in most people’s imaginations are the places that you go to get your
6:44 passport or get a visa they don’t think of it as sites of culture but i think
6:50 they are sites of culture
6:51 wow it’s amazing they can be outpost of American ideas and values and I think
6:59 the more art is in those spaces that sort of broad is the idea of what
7:06 America is or what it could be renowned art photographer catherine opie was
7:14 asked to contribute images from her recent series on objects from the home
7:18 of Elizabeth Taylor one of the things that happens as an international artists
7:24 is that there is a point in which you are representing your own country and
7:30 I’m so grateful that the art embassy program is is around and has survived
7:35 for so long because art is a bridge
7:38 it’s a bridge that allows communication and conversation to take place where
7:44 sometimes other bridges are more difficult to be built in that way
7:53 doing great
7:59 spain is always an interesting context because especially as a painter some of
8:04 my favorite painters most influential painters come from Spain is going on
8:07 that schedule work with big questions and we’re engaged in what’s happening in
8:12 the world around us and I think that even you need this context and it’s
8:17 impressive that there’s this program is very committed to this form of
8:21 expression i think it’s fantastic
8:30 when we started on this incredible journey Virginia I sitting in her office
8:34 with books of artists that we aspire to have in his collection we had no idea
8:39 that this would become such an incredibly impactful thing to the
8:43 culture of this embassy in to Madrid to realize how that dialogue that narrative
8:50 that story of all these artists coming together and in this context is an
8:55 amazing amazing thing
8:56 art is a way of making communication between cultures see because i think
9:01 it’s easy to talk about a painting that about politics or economics that maybe
9:06 I’m more control and she and topics i really think that it’s given James an
9:11 incredible platform as an ambassador to start a variety of dialogue variety
9:16 conversations not just about art not just about culture but about our past
9:21 and our future and our shared road ahead we have this great opportunity available
9:25 to us to our embassies and I’m just thrilled to be able to open these doors
9:29 this is America space here in Spain and i find it the most common denominator to
9:34 be able to get people together to make friends through this experience of art