Tag Archives: #researchproject

Rethinking #Guernica; History and Conflict in the 20th Century [Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia]

This website presents the extensive research conducted on the artwork, a twentieth-century icon, by the Museo Reina Sofía, and comprises around 2,000 documents.

Unpublished documents, gigapixel images, a comparison of photographic techniques, interactive chronology on this new website related to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica.


Rethinking Guernica stems from a research project which compiles and presents materials related to the painting Pablo Picasso produced for the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair of 1937 and which is currently conserved in the Museo Reina Sofía.

This initiative, made possible through the joint work of different departments in the Museo, is an open tool of knowledge, progressively enriched with new documents and setting out from the artistic and symbolic values in Picasso’s painting to analyse contemporary history and the processes which build its imagery.

Rethinking Guernica is envisaged as an archive of archives, comprising different public and private archives from institutions and Spanish and international agencies and tracing an approach to the history of the mural by acknowledging its quality as an artwork and icon which transcends its own materiality to become a constantly updated image and symbol. Moreover, the plural nature and provenance of the materials brought together leads to an understanding of the contexts surrounding Guernica — direct or indirect, physical or symbolic — and the multiple historical circumstances it has contributed to, and continues to do so, or in which it has been involved.

In terms of the archive, the materials are organised as a non-hierarchical constellation of narratives contained in different documents, which engender a wide array of possibilities for accessing information. Equally, each document has been allocated a series of labels – chronological, geographical or contextual, in reference to exhibitions, authors, or other aspects — not only linking it to the organisational accounts and criteria put forward, but also prompting new searches from the actual documents.

Rethinking Guernica takes centre stage in the gigapixel study of Guernica. The latest technology applied to the knowledge, analysis and conservation of art heritage enables this study to group together and manage the vast number of images taken on the painting – the pictorial surface, the back, the stretcher — through a robotic system with different sensors. The front and back of the picture have been scanned using different light frequencies (visible light, ultraviolet light, infrared light, x-ray imaging) which, along with the tool for 3D recreation, have produced an accurate picture of the painting’s condition. Moreover, the mapping of alterations has located abrasions, craquelure, wax, cracks, marks, retouching, underlying brushstrokes and other identified components, and, in addition to disclosing information on the picture’s state of conservation, the interpretation of these gigapixel images is also integral to a more profound approach to Picasso’s working process and technique.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Santa Isabel, 52
28012 Madrid
Tel. (+34) 91 774 1000
Fax. (+34) 91 774 1056

Information: web@museoreinasofia.es


Refiguring American Art @TateResearch

‘Refiguring American Art’ is a three-year research project advancing new approaches in the study of post-war American art.

Sam Francis, 'Around the Blues' 1957/62
Sam Francis
Around the Blues 1957/62

Led by Alex Taylor and Julia Tatiana Bailey, this initiative draws on the Tate collection to reveal a richer and more complex view of post-war American art and culture. Bridging the worlds of academia and the museum, it brings together contributions from leading scholars of American art in the UK and America. Over a period of three years, this will lead to publications (notably, In Focus projects on Tate’s website), gallery displays and academic workshops. A major international conference is scheduled for 2017.

The project seeks to shine new light on American artists of significant period stature who have fallen from scholarly attention or whose work invites new perspectives. Artworks that can serve to broaden how we understand key movements or complicate the categories of post-war practice are a particular focus for inquiry. Research on the international histories of American art – especially its exhibition and reception in Britain, and at Tate itself – will illuminate the transnational networks that shaped art and society in the post-war decades.

Research themes

Four research themes serve as threads that run through the various outcomes of ‘Refiguring American Art’:

1. Transnational modernisms

How did migration and expatriate experience shape American art? What was the role of cold war politics and alleged cultural imperialism in American art’s international reception? How did exchanges between American and European modernisms influence their respective histories?

2. Economies of taste

How did the American avant-garde relate to the nation’s booming consumer culture? What role did the art world play in shaping the norms of good taste? To what extent were the forms of post-war art shaped by the interests of a buoyant global art market, and an increasingly powerful museum sector?

3. Contextualising abstraction

What were the connections between modernist abstraction and the everyday world? How did it engage with the spaces and experiences of modern life? What were its connections with the realms of ideology, philosophy and religion? How did American artists seek to problematise the boundaries between abstraction and figuration?

4. Built environments

How did the visual culture of the built environment inform the work of post-war artists? How did the politics of urban renewal and redevelopment inform their practices? How did emerging ecological interests shape artistic engagements with industrial waste and other human interventions in the environment?

Academic Advisory Board

The project is guided by an Academic Advisory Board comprising:

Dr Jo Applin, Courtauld Institute of Art
Dr James Boaden, University of York
Dr Lucy Bradnock, University of Nottingham
Professor Thomas Crow, New York University
Professor Martin Hammer, University of Kent
Professor Mignon Nixon, University College London
Dr Cara Rodway, Eccles Centre for American Studies, British Library
Dr Alistair Rider, University of St Andrews

Supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Project Information

Project team:
Dr Julia Tatiana Bailey, Terra Foundation for American Art Research Project Manager
Dr Jennifer Mundy, Head of Collection Research, Tate
Dr Alex Taylor, Terra Foundation Research Fellow in American Art