art exhibitions

art exhibitions
   Exhibitions of art have become an important part of modern Spanish culture. A survey in 1985 showed that 20 percent of the population over the age of 14 visited museums and art galleries twice a month, and special exhibitions mounted by the Prado Museum, most notably those on Velázquez in 1990, Ribera in 1992 and Goya in 1994, attracted huge national and international interest.
   In addition to special exhibitions organized by museums which house major art collections, such as the Prado Museum, the Queen Sofía Museum, and the Art Museums of Seville and Valencia, exhibitions are hosted by a wide range of public and private institutions.
   The autonomous communities and the Ayuntamientos (municipal authorities) are important cultural agents and organize exhibitions, some with a strong regional or local flavour. The autonomous community of Madrid, for instance, inaugurated its newly furbished salon in 1990 with Madrid Arte 60, creating a highly successful series with subsequent exhibitions on the 1970s, 1950s, 1980s and 1940s, and the Ayuntamiento hosts frequent exhibitions in its three major centres, the Museo Municipal, the Centro Cultural de la Villa de Madrid, and especially the Centro Cultural del Conde Duque. The Generalitat de Catalunya and the Ayuntamiento de Barcelona support exhibitions in the Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona such as those on Modernism and Informalism and in Valencia the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM), founded in 1989, hosts important exhibitions in the region. A very successful series of exhibitions of religious art under the generic title of Las Edades del Hombre (The Ages of Man) began in the Cathedral of Valladolid in 1988 where it attracted over half a million visitors and has continued in the Cathedrals of Burgos, León, Salamanca, Antwerp and, in 1997, Burgo de Osma.
   Other major public bodies which regularly mount exhibitions are the Royal Academy which celebrated its 250th aniversary in 1994 with a display of masterpieces from its own collection, the National Library, and each year since 1981 the Palacio de Velázquez in the Retiro Park in Madrid has been home to the Salón de los 16 in which artists present their most recent works. Private sponsors also play a very important role in the promotion of art exhibitions. As well as foundations such as the Juan March Foundation, the Miró Foundation, the Tàpies Foundation and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Foundation (see also Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum), the larger financial and business enterprises contribute enormously to the cultural life of Spain (see also arts funding; Law of Patronage). Prominent among these are the Cajas de Ahorros (Savings Banks) especially the Caixa de Pensions based in Barcelona, which is able to mount international exhibitions in both Barcelona and Madrid, and Cajamadrid which has promoted exhibitions on, for example, the Madrid School, Seven Spanish painters of the Paris School and, in conjunction with the Goethe Institute, contemporary German art. In addition to their general sponsorship of the arts, major banks such as Central Hispano, Banco Exterior and in particular the BBV, and companies such as Grupo Tabacalera and Mapfre Vida mount a wide range of exhibitions such as that of the BBV on the Golden Age of Dutch painting in 1994, and that of Mapfre Vida on Sorolla in 1995.
   Add to this wide range of art exhibitors the increasing number of commercial galleries operating especially in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia and it is easy to understand why a National Centre for Exhibitions and Artistic Promotion has been set up to sponsor, organize and co-ordinate exhibitions in Spain and abroad.
   See also: art collections; museums
   EAMONN RODGERS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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