DESIGNING AMERICA: SPAIN’S IMPRINT IN THE U.S.
Houston Public Library. Julia Ideson Building. From April 14 to August 6, 2016
From 1513, the year when Ponce de León first set foot in Florida, through to the twenty-first century, Spain has had an influential presence in the United States of America we know today. This exhibition aims to examine, under the same looking glass, the contributions Spain has made toward the construction of territories, landscapes and cities in the United States: a living legacy that is continually renewed despite the centuries that have gone by.
With some 500 years of uninterrupted control, Spain was the first European nation to settle in the territory that is known today as the United States, and the one that has stayed the longest. This influence extends to very distinct fields: from the exploration and charting on the map of the American territory to the founding of American cities. A long period of Spanish rule (1565-1821) that has left behind pivotal influences on the territory’s structure and the composition of its landscape. Through today, the work of Spanish engineers and architects in the United States has kept this connection alive.
Embarking on a themed, yet non-sequential cross-sectional survey of these contributions, the exhibition is presented in four blocks: The image of America; Constructing the territory; Cities: the Spanish urban space; and Constructed works: architecture and engineering. In each of these blocks, a set of more than 20 maps, images and objects is matched with parallel narrations that complement and enrich this collection. The visit is completed by The Spanish Language: place names in the United States, an interactive installation that helps to localize the states and cities in the US, the video The Spanish Frontier in North America, and a multi-touch table with zoomable maps. Most of the images will have QR codes.
This exhibition takes place within the context of several key events, to be celebrated between 2013 and 2015, that reflect upon the common history between Spain and the United States. Current commemorative celebrations include the 500th anniversary of Ponce de León’s arrival in Florida, the 500th anniversary of the exploration of the Pacific Ocean by Núñez de Balboa, the 300th anniversary of the birth of California’s founder, Father Junípero Serra; and the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the first city in the United States: St. Augustine, Florida.
The exhibition has been organized by the Fundación Consejo España-Estados Unidos in collaboration with the Biblioteca Nacional de España. Houston Public Library is the second venue in the United States. It has been curated by Juan Miguel Hernández León, director of the Cultural Landscape Research Group of the Technical University of Madrid. The exhibition design was carried out by Indissoluble.
IN COLLABORATION WITH
His Majesty the King Felipe VI
Mr. José Manuel García – Margallo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
Mr. Salvador Alemany, Chairman, Abertis Infraestructuras
Mr. Antonio Brufau, Chairman, Repsol and Fundación Repsol
Mr. José Manuel Entrecanales, Chairman & CEO ACCIONA
Mr. Jaume Giró, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Obra Social “la Caixa”
Ms. Helena Herrero, Managing Director, Hewlett Packard Iberia
Mr. Juan Lladó, Vice Chairman – CEO, Técnicas Reunidas
Mr. Florentino Pérez, Chairman, ACS and Fundación ACS
Mr. Rafael del Pino, Chairman, Ferrovial
Mr. Juan-Miguel Villar Mir, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, OHL Group
Additional support was also provided by:
Grupo de investigación Paisaje Cultural Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (GIPC-UPM)
Juan Miguel Hernández León – Director
Scientific coordinator of the curatorship
DESIGN, GRAPHICS AND PRODUCTION COORDINATION
Juan Roberto Vásquez
NOVA Language Services
Racine Berkow Associates, Inc.
Fundación Consejo España – Estados Unidos
Manuel Mª Lejarreta
Former Secretary General
Director for Cultural Affairs
Houston Public Library
Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson
Danielle Burns Wilson
SPACES Assistant Director
Exhibition printed with HP Designjet Z Technology
Flyer and Catalog printed with HP Indigo Technology
Catalog printed by Bennett Graphics