CommunityEmbassy Row

Source: U.S. Embassy in Madrid
Photos: U.S. Embassy


Last year, 2013, Art in Embassies (AIE) celebrated its 50th anniversary. For five decades AIE has played a leading role in U.S. public diplomacy, producing a vital cross-cultural dialogue through the visual arts and dynamic artist exchange. The Museum of Modern Art first envisioned this global visual arts program in 1953, and President John F. Kennedy formalized it at the U.S. Department of State in 1963.

Today, AIE is a public-private partnership engaging over 20,000 participants globally, including artists, museums, galleries, universities, and private collectors, and encompasses over 200 venues in 189 countries.  Professional curators and registrars create and ship about 60 exhibitions per year, and since 2000, over 58 permanent collections have been installed in the Department’s diplomatic facilities throughout the world.

In the last decade, more than 100 artists have travelled to countries participating in AIE’s exchange programs and collaborated with local artists to produce works now on display in embassies and consulates. AIE fosters U.S. relations within local communities world-wide – an integral aspect of Department of State’s commitment to smART power.

Going forward, AIE will continue to engage, educate, and inspire global audiences, showing how art can transcend national borders and build connections among peoples.

Says U.S. Secretary of State John Forbes Kerry: “For fifty years, Art in Embassies has played an active diplomatic role by creating meaningful cultural exchange through the visual arts. The exhibitions, permanent collections and artist exchanges connect people from the farthest corners of an international community. . .

“Art in Embassies cultivates relationships that transcend boundaries, building trust, mutual respect and understanding among peoples. It is a fulcrum of America’s global leadership as we continue to work for freedom, human rights and peace around the world.”

In 2014 the AIE exhibit in Madrid has counted on many artists including Anni Albers, Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Walton Ford, Childe Hassam, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Catherine Opie, Elliott Puckette, Robert Rauschenberg, Javier Romero, Susan Rothenberg, Edward Ruscha, John Singer Sargent, Antonio Saura, Julian Schnabel, Philip Taaffe, Antoni Tapies, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, and David Wiseman.

 Sampling of the AIE MADRID EXHIIBIT 2014

Stuart Davis, Composition, 1964, Silkscreen, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Berman to the Art in Embassies Program, Washington, D.C.

Stuart Davis, Composition, 1964, silkscreen, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Berman to the Art in Embassies Program, Washington, D.C.

Art in Embassies Madrid Exhibit Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg, Bilbao Scraps [Anagram (A Pun)], 1997, inkjet dye transfer on polylaminate, © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Antoni Tapies

Antoni Tapies, R I Ala, 2005, mixed media on wood, courtesy of Sidercal Minerales Collection, Asturias, Spain and Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, LLC, New York











Art in embassies Madrid Exhibit Emon

Philip Taaffe, Emon, 2011, acrylic ink on paper, courtesy of Jablonka Galerie, Cologne






Art in Embassies Madrid Exhiibit Screaming in Spanish, Edward Ruscha

Edward Ruscha, Screaming in Spanish, 2013, dry pigment and acrylic on paper, courtesy of the artist











Art in Embassies Madrid Exhibit Walton Ford

Walton Ford, The Tale of Johnny Nutkin, 2001, six color hardground and softground etching, aquatint, spit-bite aquatint, drypoint on Somerset Satin paper, courtesy of the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery






Featured image (topmost photo): An AIE 50th Anniversary event