The ornament of the masses: red, white, blue

Espai 13

Exhibition program
The 24 Steps
Javier Arce
Curated by
Jorge Díez

The Joan Miró Foundation presents "The ornament of the masses: red, white, blue", an exhibition by Javier Arce as part of The 24 steps programme dedicated to Joan Miró and his leading role in the field of contemporary art, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death on 25 December 1983. Javier Arce (Santander, 1973) explores the frontiers of art in search of the limits that define its nature. He tries to extend these limits into the territories in which Art with a capital A, as an expression of high culture, is contaminated by the manifestations of popular culture, while at the same time questioning the existence of these barriers, often with a touch of humour.

His exhibition in the Espai 13 follows this line of analysis of the distance between the work of art and popular culture at a time when merchandising, an important feature of every museum, makes famous works of art easily available to the public at large.

Arce's installation consists of two elements. The first is re-invention of Andy Warhol's installation in the Stable Gallery in New York in 1964, which turned a consumer product into a work of art: the room is filled with a mound of crumpled three-dimensional drawings of the Brillo Box, produced with a felt-tipped pen on untearable paper. Javier Arce, however, transforms the neat, clean lines of the original installation into an accumulation of art junk.

The second element, Abandonment, is made up of four simultaneous screenings of a series of actions that the artist performed recently, which consist in abandoning original works of art from the Crumpled (Brillo Box) series alongside the articles on sale in the museum shops at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Tate Modern in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. In this way the work of art is converted into a mere product.

With "The ornament of the masses: red, white, blue" Javier Arce invites viewers to reflect on the role of museums and the value of art.