Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation


Posters, 1890 to 1961
Start date
End date
Free admission
Central de diseño
Thanks to joint initiative by the U.S. Embassy in Spain and DIMAD, the exhibition brings together advertising art from the late 19th century to the prodigious years of 1960s.
Thanks to joint initiative by the U.S. Embassy in Spain and DIMAD, the exhibition Advertising Art and Spain-U.S. Trade Relations, 1890 to 1961 opened this past December 18th at the Central de Diseño of Matadero Madrid.
  The show brings together advertising art from the late 19th century to the prodigious years of 1960s, the decade that marks the definitive institutionalization of graphic design and graphic designers: a historic cycle that goes from the Spanish crisis of 1898 to the industrialization and development of the 1960s in Spain, including the years before and after World War I and II. CocaCola, PepsiCola, General Electric, Ford, 20th Century Fox, American Express, Gillette, Firestone and Maizena are all part of a key period in history and in our lives.
  Graphic design and advertising are aesthetic phenomena tied to people’s lives. Brands accompany us and make us part of a generation. Today we know that these images were far more important than people thought at the time.

For designers, advertising professionals and young Spanish students it is surely a unique opportunity to discover pieces that they would not be able to see if curator Carlos Velasco had not spent much of his life collecting thousands of pieces of advertising art and graphic design. Nor would it be possible if institutions such as the U.S. Embassy did not organize exhibitions such as this.
  A few words about the exhibition...    “We expect visitors to come out not only with a better knowledge of the contents of the exhibition, but also a pleasant, nostalgic trip to a past full of icons, often smattered with curious anecdotes such as the reference to the former U.S. president Merbert [sic] Hoover in the 1956 film Dani el Travieso; the allusions to the “American progress and technology”of nylon by Marcet; “the most powerful American industry”by Car-life; Anthony’s “super-egg-laying American hen”; or Singer sewing machines, whose miraculous way of liberating women from her domestic chores was illustrated very well by two angels that made one of them descend to earth…Or the surprising ad from the United States telling Spaniards how to emigrate there in June 1944 (in the middle of World War II, when the country was totally isolated due to the Franco regime's support of the Axis powers); the 1953 poster for USAID as “donation by the American people to the Spanish people”; the 20th anniversary of 20th Century Fox in 1945, etc.”.  (Carlos Velasco, curator)

“Spain and the United States have shared many different things over the course of history. One of them is trade. The posters in this exhibition reflect decades of trade relations and an interchange of images, aesthetics…in short, messages from one society to another during years of great changes for both nations. This commercial relationship has grown, matured and evolved, reaching considerable figures of bilateral trade in two major economies. What’s more, American and Spanish design are currently engaged in a fruitful dialogue through many images and contacts in a globalized world where creativity has no limits.This retrospective shows us the way we were and how we have become what we are today.
(Amy Bliss, Cultural Attaché of the U.S. Embassy)