A prominent artist has spoken out about the frequent appearance of one of his works in the Spanish government’s televised briefings about the pandemic. According to a report by the newspaper El País, the painter and sculptor Miquel Barceló is none too pleased that his work L’atelier aux sculptures (The Sculpture Studio), 1993, has been on display behind Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez and other officials during their recent press conferences.
The large-scale work, which depicts a view of Barceló’s sculpture workshop, is part of the collection of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. The artist told El País that the piece ought to be on view a the museum rather than the background of government briefings on television. Just as New York governor Andrew Cuomo became known around the United States for his PowerPoint presentations on the state of the pandemic in his state, so Sánchez has used L’atelier aux sculptures (The Sculpture Studio) as a recurring stage for his dispatches to the public.
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“I am just angry,” Barceló said, adding of the Sánchez’s briefings, “I don’t have a T.V., but my friends keep sending me photos.”
Barceló’s paintings often feature semi-abstract, dreamy imbued with literary and historical allusions. His works can also be found in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and other international institutions, and he shows with Acquavella Galleries and Almine Rech. In 2009, he represented Spain at the Venice Biennale.
L’atelier aux sculptures (The Sculpture Studio) features “sculptures while they are being made, in process,” Barceló told El País. “Some are done and others I will never finish, they don’t exist, or I destroyed them.”