On a recent trip to Madrid I visited the Reina Sofia Museum. I’d been waiting to see this museum in person for years since in 2011, I’d created subtitles for a video interview that was included in a Roberto Jacoby exhibition there titled El Deseo Nace en El Derrumbe.
When I finally got to the Reina Sofia this October, it was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. Walking around inside the physical building was a beautiful experience. Its features included giant windows, stone hallways, modern exoskeletal glass elevators exposing sweeping views of the city, and a romantically-lit garden courtyard as the edifice’s centerpiece. There were floors of modern and contemporary art including some breathtaking very famous works, like Picasso’s Guernica (which I stood in front of for about 20 minutes; actual size=11′ 5″x 25’6″) and Dali’s The Great Masturbator.
Aside from the museum’s impressive permanent collection, one of the temporary exhibits really stood out. It was the Dutch artist Constant Nieuwenhuys (1920-2005). Constant’s earlier works had a dark yet whimsical painting style which I absolutely love. I wondered why I hadn’t heard of him before, because to me he seemed like he should have been as famous as Picasso or Dali.
Other works of Constant’s were architectural, and some worked with the concept of the labyrinth. One project that Constant was very well known for was called “New Babylon.” The idea of New Babylon was an anti-capitalist city that would promote creativity as one of its main focuses.
I am interested in researching more about Constant and New Babylon in the future. There is so much to find out about his diverse career, and I’m glad to have had my eyes opened to his work by the Reina Sofia.