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Barceló's Areneros y muleros

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Miquel Barceló’s Areneros y muleros

Through May 19


For a limited time, museum visitors have the rare opportunity to view an important work by one of the most celebrated living Spanish artists, Miquel Barceló. On loan from a private collector, Areneros y muleros is one of the largest of Barceló’s famous Bullfight paintings, widely acknowledged as his most significant body of work. The 1990 work combines an enormous yellow arena, a rich texture of paint and sand, with a stadium described by paint so heavily-layered as to appear sculpted. Throughout the center, marks left in the sand reveal the recent interaction between bullfighter and bull while ‘Muleros’ carry out the body of the slain bull in the lower left corner and four ‘Areneros’ sweep the sand in preparation for the next event. In creating his Bullfight series, Barceló makes artistic references to this sport so deeply ingrained in Spanish culture, and continues a tradition familiar to the viewer through the writings of Ernest Hemingway, as well as the painted work of Francisco de Goya, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.

Miquel Barceló (Spain, b. 1957)

Areneros y muleros, 1990

Mixed media on canvas, 102 3/8 x 81 1/8 in.

Private collection

While you're here, check out these other two new works on loan for a limited time:



Pieter Vermeersch’s Untitled 4 recalls the Color Field paintings of Ad Reinhardt or the airbrushed paintings of Jules Olitski. However, Vermeersch’s recent work in not necessarily a search for a contemplative, spiritual state through non-referential color. Untitled 4 originated from a color photograph negative of a sunset, in which the brilliant reds appeared on the film negative as a range of greens. The painting deals less with spiritual escape than the changing character of light and color. The tonal progress from green to gray suggests the passage of time, in this regard, grounding the viewer in perceptible physical values.

Pieter Vermeersch
(Belgium, b. 1973)
Untitled 4
, 2011
Oil on canvas
Private collection

Untitled 4


The works of German artist Thilo Heinzmann reference the recent history of modernism, especially the abstract tradition that emerged following World War II. His monochromatic surfaces, often white, recall the work of Italian artist Lucio Fontana, and Heinzmann’s use of found materials, such as the cotton and crystals used in this work, speak to the work of German artist Joseph Beuys or the Italian group Arte Povera. Whereas both Fontana and Beuys sought spirituality in mundane materials and Arte Povera sought to liberate art from commercialism through the use of refuse and cast-offs, Heinzmann is more concerned with the aesthetic legacy of those artists, and his deliberate incorporation of the Plexiglas cover gives the work the character of a precious object. Heinzmann’s work also has the appearance of a child’s craft project, which may be an ironic reference to Fontana and Beuys’ respective attempts to return to the fundamentals of creative production.

Thilo Heinzmann
(Germany, b. 1969)
, 2011
Mixed media
Private collection