MADRID’S REINA SOFÍA MUSEUM EXPANDS Dramatic $110 Million State-of-the-art Extension Creates One of the Largest Contemporary Art Museums in the World

Madrid, Spain, September 26, 2005 – Today Her Majesty the Queen of Spain officially inaugurated the newly expanded Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS.) Home to one of the foremost collections of 20th century art, the Reina Sofía’s dramatic $110 million expansion has increased the institution’s space by 65 percent – to a total of 904,000 square feet – making it one of the world’s largest contemporary art museums. On a triangular space adjoining the original museum, the city’s 1788 hospital, architect Jean Nouvel has grouped three new buildings – all equipped with the latest technological advancements – housing two large galleries, a library and an auditorium. A massive bladelike roof juts out over the street covering the new steel and glass structures and the 18th century building. Roy Lichtenstein’s 16-foot Brush Stoke takes center stage in the courtyard between the two structures. Large-format works can now be exhibited in the two massive rooms dedicated to temporary exhibitions. A 500-seat auditorium, another for 200 and a restaurant share The Auditorium. The Library will store up to 250,000 volumes and the bookshop will specialize in art from the 20th and 21st centuries and the humanities.
Later this year, work will begin on a $38-million refurbishment of the Reina Sofía’s old building that is expected to take four years. When the collection is re-installed – this time chronologically with special galleries dedicated to individual artists – an additional 200 works will come out of storage and be displayed. Plans also call for more space to be dedicated to video and new media as well as a new section for post-1980’s art. In the last 10 years the number of visitors to the Reina Sofía has doubled to 1.5 million and this striking new expansion is sure to attract more art lovers.
The museum’s collection was inaugurated in 1992 when works from the former Spanish Contemporary Art Museum were joined with purchases and donations from Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Julio González. Spanning from 1881 – the year Pablo Picasso was born (Guernica is displayed here) – up to today, from Cubism to Surrealism to Abstract and beyond, the collection comprises more than 13,000 works including: 3,400 paintings, 2,400 drawings, 1,200 sculptures, 5,500 engravings, 800 photographs. Renowned Spanish artists such as: Miguel Barceló, Eduardo Chillida, Juan Gris, Benjamín Palencia, Gerardo Rueda, Alberto Sánchez, Antonio Saura and Antoni Tàpies are represented here. Paintings and sculptures by other internationally acclaimed artists: Jean Arp, Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder, Max Ernst, Vassily Kandinsky, Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, Jacques Lipchitz and René Magritte are also included.
Exhibitions on view this fall and winter include:
• October 11-January 9, 2006 “The Origin of Conceptual Art in Spain
• October 25-January 9, 2006 “Pablo Palazuelo (1995-2005)” Works by the 2004 Velázquez-prize winner
• November 9 – February 13, 2006 “The Three Dimensions of Don Quixote; Don Quixote and Contemporary Spanish Art”
• Through November 2005 “Dennis Oppenheim” A retrospective of this conceptual artist
Situated within 10 minutes walk from each other, the Reina Sofía, the Museo del Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza are in one of the city’s most beautiful areas bordered by the Botanical Gardens, Paseo del Prado and Plaza de Neptuno. With the major expansions for the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza now completed, only the Prado’s remains to be finished sometime in the fall of 2007.
The Reina Sofía’s main building, at Calle Santa Isabel, 52, is open six days a week Mondays to Saturdays from 10 AM to 9 PM and Sundays from 10 AM to 2:30 PM. (Closed Tuesdays and some holidays.) A ticket costs about $3.60 or 3.01 euros. Admission is free to the general public on Saturdays from 2:30 PM to 9 PM and on Sundays from 10 AM to 2:30 PM. Children under 18 and seniors over 65 are admitted free of charge and students are half price. A ticket for all three museums costs $9.15 or 7.66 euros and can be purchased at those institutions.
For further information go to www.museoreinasofia.es, call: 011-34-99-774-10-00, fax: 011-34-91-774-10-50 or email: direccion.mncars@cars.mcu.es. For further information about Spain, contact the Tourist Office of Spain at www.okspain.org