Friday, 18 January 2013

Spain's Best Exhibitions of 2012

Our art correspondent Chris Draper says: 'It's not the folk that counts, it is the spaces, town-scapes and landscapes!'

LAST month, El Pais reported that the critical acclaim of both the public and the critics in Spain for the best art exhibition had co-insided with the exhibition of Edward Hopper's work at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid coming out on top. At the same time as the critics gave their verdict in favour of Hopper, so the results of the voters on El Pais digital concluded the same.  Ought we to draw any significance or comfort from these two verdicts the one based upon supposed expertise and the other rooted in the public instinct and eye for what it likes?
Pinned Image

Evening Wind by Edward Hopper 1921
Writing in El Pais, Guillermo Solana wrote: 'For me the two tribunals, the critics and the public, have the same authority, and they both complement each other.  The differences ascribed to the critics we understand well, while the public is always and enigma'  Senor Solana takes the view that the importance of Edward Hopper rests beyond his style as a painter, and that his popularity with the public has much to do with the atmosphere of the spaces in his pictures that give the public a window on the

'La carretera que atraviesa los Wolds' by David Hockney

The David Hockney exhibition at Museo Guggenheim in Bilbao showing his recent figurative paintings of Yorkshire countryside, and other landscapes such as the one above came second after the Hopper exhibition.  This interesting because in the forthcoming Northern Voices No.14, Christopher Draper will be featuring David Hockney alongside L.S. Lowry from Salford in his regular 'Six O' the Best' contribution.  Hockney, frequently with a fag in his hand, is a bit of a curmudgeon, but then again so was Lowry. 

The third, in the Spanish best exhibitions line-up for 2012 is the 'El ultimo Rafael' at Museo del Prado.  'Claes Oldenburg' came in at number four, also at the Museo Guggenheim in Bilbao, and 'La vanguardia aplicada,  Tipografia y diseno grafico (1890-1950)' at the Fundacion Juan March scored at number five. Sixth was the exhibition of 'Maria Blanchard' at the Fundacion Botin y Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, and the seventh was 'Nacho Criado' also at the same venue.  At eighth was 'El joven Van Dyck' also at Museo del Prado.  Number nine was 'Genealogias feministas en el arte espanol:  1960-2010' at the Musac, and ten was 'Encuentros con los anos 30' at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.

Recently, talking to Chris Draper – the N.V. Correspondent on art and culture - he told me that Lowry had said that the 'match-stick' figures in his pictures are the least important part of the work, I think he told me that Lowry merely regarded them as add-ons or afterthoughts, and that it was the spaces and landscapes displayed that were the essence of his art. With Edward Hopper, Guillermo Solera in El Pais writes:
'Hopper fascinates the public, because the majority of the public look to see in a pictures the same as what they look for in a novel and in a film, and this precisely what they are after, they are looking for a world – a habitable space, a window to travel into other lives, and into the possibility to live these lives imaginatively and the hope to finally own these existences...'  

Laurence Stephen Lowry from Salford, was a rent collector, while the New Yorker Edward Hopper, Senor Solana writes, worked in his youth as a graphical illustrator of journals and books, and that he went on to apply these skills to his paintings.  Considering these point about Senor Solana's view on Edward Hopper's popularity with the Spanish public it will be interesting to see how Chris Draper deals with some of the great artists of the North of England such as Lowry from Salford, Hockney from Yorkshire, Etty from York, the Pitmen Painters from Northumbria and even Walter Kershaw from Rochdale.

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