One of the beautiful things about where I live is that I am within walking distance to all of the major art museums and their auxiliary buildings. Last week Berta, Cristian, I all had the afternoon free and decided that we would go to the House of Velázquez, an affiliate to the Museum Reina Sofía, that is located in the Retiro Park to see the exhibit Kerry James Marshall:painting and other stuff. This is his first major exhibit in Europe and focuses on the key works from his oeuvre that deals with race, gender, and identity in a variety of media. Using a plethora of commercial images, such as the girlscout, Marshall provides multiple points of access to his art for each visitor, even those who are not native to America.
Next to the House of Velázquez is the Crystal Palace, which also features another temporary exhibit by the Reina Sofía. Here rocking chairs with thick volume books attached on strings to the handrail are scattered throughout the floor plan.
The exhibition titled Splendide Hotel by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster attempts to aid the visitor in a journey through space and time. The Splendide refers to an actual hotel: The Hotel Splendide in Lugano that was opened in 1887. In addition the hotel in Évian-les-Bains, where Marcel Proust holidayed with his family was titled Splendide. According to the Reina Sofía this date (1887) coincides with the inauguration of the Crystal Palace to display plants in the General Exhibition on the Philippine Islands. Therefore, by recreating one room from that hotel, the viewer is transported back to the late 19th century, aided by the various stories contained in the books attached to the chairs.
Too bad I could not read the German stories in my book!