This celebratory exhibition of the opening of the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía amalgamates three internationally renowned Spaniards: Eduardo Chillida, Antonio Saura and Antoni Tàpies beside three of the finest artistsom the second half of the twentieth century: Georg Baselitz, Cy Twombly and Richard Serra. The lack of historical and stylistic common ground that joins them here as well as the origins and diverse time periods of each has led the art critic, Francisco Calvo Serraller, to call the confluence an “eccentric encounter” in the exhibition notes. Having said that, is is in fact possible to consider the convergence of some of them in terms of the purpose and intent of their work. For instance, Saura clearly shares certain Expressionist references with Baselitz; the poetic and gestural nature of the material and the presence of calligraphy are also common in Tàpies and Twombly, and the preponderance of three-dimensions in Chillida's and Serra's work gives rise to analogical origins of their way of conceiving artistic creation.
Cy Twombly (Lexington, USA, 1928 - Rome, 2011), a contemporary of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, is heir to the first generation of Abstract Expressionism. He reaches maturity in the Sixties with a style that attaches great importance to the psychic gesture expressed through line and which can be seen in the scribbles, letters, numbers, words, diagrams and signs that appear throughout his career. For this reason Harald Szeemann, curator of this exhibition has said of the artist: "With the line, he has been able to say what almost every painter would like to say."
Presented in the Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Ileana and Michael Sonnabend's collection is an important testimony to twenty-five years of artistic activity in the United States and Europe. Many of the works in this collection are key to understanding the art of our times; it encompasses many of the predominant art movements, such as Pop Art, Minimal Art, Arte Povera, Antiform, Conceptual Art, American and German Expressionism, Neo-minimalism, Neo-conceptualism and multimedia practices.
Black Mountain College was an art school located in the south-west of North Carolina, United States and had its doors open between 1933 and 1956; some of the most iconic names on the American art scene at that time attended. Its liberal educational system encompassed different artistic disciplines which were taught based on experimentation. Students were divided into "Junior" who worked in small groups and "Senior", who agreed to a system of individualised tutoring. There were no loans or notes; the only assessment was an exam the student requested when they thought they were ready.