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Roberto Pacheco (b. 1951), Preparations for War (Madrid 1936), 1989; maple, steel and concrete, 20 1/2 x 17 x 6 3/4 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of the Artist, 1991

Roberto Pacheco (b. 1951), Preparations for War (Madrid 1936), 1989; maple, steel and concrete, 20 1/2 x 17 x 6 3/4 inches; Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of the Artist, 1991

Roberto Pacheco’s sculpture pays homage to the beauty of raw materials as in his work, Preparations for War (Madrid 1936). A dialogue of contrasts and tensions is set up by the artist’s use of a roughly hewn maple slab with roughly cut steel and concrete rectangles held together with rusted wire, nails and red paint.  The composition alludes to imprisonment and rough terrain, echoing the impending three-year Spanish Civil War, which began when right-wing insurgents led by General Francisco Franco sieged Madrid in July 1936. In August, the United States announced that it would not interfere, and by April 1937, Franco declared Spain a totalitarian state and he assumed power as dictator. Concurrent with those events, Congress passed, and President Roosevelt signed, a Neutrality Act.

Nancy Weekly, Burchfield Scholar, Head of Collections, Charles Cary Rumsey Curator