A project space in East Harlem is currently featuring a show by Wendy White titled Madrid Me Mata. If you like vintage Spanish soccer, the films of Almodovar, or just good art, you’ll want to check out this show.
For this show, White presents work that pays tribute to the Galeria Moriarty in Madrid, a landmark gallery which presented challenging work in the period of time immediately following the death of dictator Francisco Franco. Due to the thorough democratization of Spain, this gallery, perhaps, partly lost its relevance, and was recently closed, but the show helps one reflect on what life was like after many decades of oppression and how artists in Spain took their first steps toward free expression.
Indeed, these works, mostly large-scale with text in circular frames, recall the spirit of La Movida Madrelina, a movement that originated in Spain in the 1980s. White evokes this thawing out period in Spanish history with various types of memorabilia, especially magazine covers and film posters that honor the influential Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar.
White also appreciates the Spanish love for soccer and this comes across in works such as La Luna de Madrid and Real Madrid. In 1984, the soccer team Real Madrid actually won the UEFA Cup, with a group of players known as La Quinta del Buitre (The Vulture Squad) whose athletic style represented, to many people, Madrid’s independence. The painting Real Madrid reflects this with the number 84 painted in bright yellow, against green strokes of paint. The piece is secured in a gold frame, shaped like a crown representing a new type of democratic royalty.
La Luna de Madrid represents the Spanish obsession for soccer and Spain’s lively culture and the inspiration came from a magazine of the same name. The painting features what appears to be an image of a bird standing on the edge of a cliff with its chest raised and long paint strokes behind it representing wings. In the upper left corner is a sticker of a soccer ball positioned directly over an obscured image of a net. The soccer ball represents the moon shining its light over the city. Real Madrid had been successful during the time of Franco (with the great team including di Stefano and Puscas), but during the successful run of The Vulture Squad, Madrilenos could breathe more easily and relax more deeply and truly take in the world’s game in a free society.
Article by: Alison Martin
Photos provided by the Gallery and the Artist