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Exhibition Press Release

Checklist (PDF 392KB)

Curator Biography:
Harry Cooper

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Public Symposium (PDF 111KB)

Garden Café Catalonia

Related Activities

Joan Miró: The Ladder Of Escape Celebrated with Rich Array of Related Programs at National Gallery of Art


Film still depicting Miró's studio at the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, from the Gallery-produced exhibition film Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape.

Washington, DC—A rich variety of public programs will be presented during the run of Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape, on view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington―its final and only venue outside of Europe―from May 6 through August 12, 2012. The exhibition of some 120 paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture reveals a politically engaged side to Miró's work, including his passionate response to one of the most turbulent periods in European history as well as his sense of Spanish—specifically Catalan—identity.

On opening day, there will be a lecture to introduce the exhibition followed by a live premiere of musical scores commissioned to accompany the Gallery's screening of silent films by the visionary Spanish filmmaker Segundo de Chomón (1871–1929). Visitors will enjoy other Miró-related programs including a public symposium, lecture, concerts, films, and gallery talks, as well as an array of gift items in the Gallery Shops.

All programs are free of charge in the East Building Auditorium unless otherwise noted. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Public Symposium

Joan Miró
Friday, June 1, 12:00–5:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 2, 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Illustrated lectures by noted scholars, including Maria-Josep Balsach, Maria Luisa Lax,Robert Lubar, Charles Palermo, Jaume Reus, and Benet Rossell.
This program is coordinated with and supported by the Institut Ramon Llull.


Miró: Two Views
Sunday, May 6, 2:00 p.m.
Harry Cooper, curator and head of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art, and Matthew Gale, head of displays, Tate Modern


Ciné-concert: Segundo de Chomón Shorts
Sunday, May 6, 4:30 p.m.
The visionary and inventive cinema pioneer Segundo de Chomón (1871–1929) was active in the budding film industries of France and his native Spain, having lived in both Paris and Barcelona throughout his prolific career. Although relatively unknown in North America, Chomón's films—which rival those of the more famous Parisian pioneer Georges Méliès—are often considered even more interesting and colorful than those of Méliès, and contain many whimsical elements that inspired the surrealists. Among scholars and enthusiasts, Chomón has become known as the "Spanish Méliès."

Filmoteca de Catalunya in Barcelona—the Catalan Film Archive—holds the world's largest collection of the films of Chomón. The Gallery will present a selection of Chomón's short special-effects films on May 6, the opening day of the exhibition, with prints from the Filmoteca.

Talented young musicians and composers from New York University's department of music and performing arts will create new scores for these silent films, based largely on traditional Catalan themes. Several of the composers will be present at this special event on May 6 to describe their work and field questions from the audience.

Miró as Portrayed by Portabella
Thursday, May 10, 2:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 24, and Friday, May 25, 12:30 p.m.
Pere Portabella (born 1929, Barcelona), a veteran Spanish filmmaker whose narrative features and short films are rich in Catalan textures and surprisingly colorful marriages of sights and sounds, was a friend of Joan Miró and worked closely with the artist on a number of projects, including the following short films, which will be shown during the exhibition: Miró 37/Aidez l'Espagne (1969), Miró l'Altre (1969), Miró Tapís (1974), and Miró La Forja (1973).

The Phosphorescent Trails of Snails
Thursdays, June 7, July 12, 19, 12:30 p.m.
Fridays, June 8, July 13, 20, 12:30 p.m.
Cesc Mulet's documentary The Phosphorescent Trails of Snails poetically combines documentary and fiction elements to explore color, symbol, and form in Miró's paintings, drawing inspiration from Yvon Taillandier's Je travaille comme un jardinier. (Cesc Mulet, Televisió de Mallorca, 2009, 54 mins.)

Exhibition Film

Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape
(Narrated by Ed Harris and produced by the National Gallery of Art)

Joan Miró was torn between a passionate loyalty to his native Catalonia and a desire to escape into a world of pure creativity. This film considers the impact of the horrors of the twentieth century—the Spanish Civil War, the fascism of the Franco regime, and World War II—on Miró's career. A thirty-minute version of the film will be available on DVD and screened in the East Building Auditorium on Sundays at 11:30 a.m., and in the East Building Small Auditorium Monday through Saturday beginning at noon, and on Sundays beginning at 12:30 p.m., with minor exceptions. A shorter version will be screened continuously in the exhibition.
Made possible by the HRH Foundation


May 6
Members of the National Gallery of Art Orchestra
Gillian Anderson, guest conductor
Silent films of Segundo de Chomón with live music
Sunday, 4:30 p.m.
Sponsored in part by the Sorel Organization for Women in Music

May 13
Charlotte de Rothschild, soprano
Danielle Perret, harpist
Music by Montsalvatge, Poulenc, Satie, and other composers
Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court

May 20
Cuarteto Quiroga
Music for string quartet by Gerhard and Schoenberg
Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court

June 17
Ignasi Terraza, jazz pianist, and Trio
Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
East Building Auditorium
Sponsored by the Institut Ramon Llull

July 1
New York Opera Society
Music by Catalan composers
Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court
Sponsored by the Institut Ramon Llull

Gallery Talks

Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape (in English)
David Gariff
May 11, 18, 23, 25, 29, 30; June 1, 8, 1:00 p.m.
Diane Arkin
May 12, 13, noon
May 14–16, 21, 24, 11:00 a.m.
Sally Shelburne
May 22, 31; June 6, 12, 26, 2:00 p.m.
East Building Information Desk
60 mins.

Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape (in Spanish)
Felix Monguilot Benzal
May 11, 18, 25; June 4, 8, 15, 22, 29; July 6, 13, 2:00 p.m.
East Building Information Desk
60 mins.

Gallery Shops

In addition to the full-color Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape exhibition catalogue, the Gallery Shops will feature a wide selection of scholarly titles and a delightful mix of illustrated books about the life and work of Joan Miró. Included will be selected volumes of the Miró catalogue raisonné, an enchanting behind-the-scenes look at Miró's studio, and titles about Barcelona and Catalonia. Accessory pieces with images of Miró's artwork will also be available, including a scarf, tote bag, and eyeglass case. Other items will include a game cube with assorted images, notebooks, several porcelain mugs, the Gallery's exhibition film on DVD, a beautifully produced 2013 monthly wall calendar, and a music CD produced for the Tate exhibition titled Joan Miró: Music from Catalonia and Paris. Children's offerings will include an entertaining selection of books about Miró, including a coloring book, an activity book, and a sticker book.

Exhibition Organization and Support

The exhibition was organized by Tate Modern, London, in collaboration with Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, and in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

It is made possible through the generous support of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.

Additional support is provided by Buffy and William Cafritz.

The Institut Ramon Llull is an exhibition sponsor in Washington and London.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.


General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

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