Excerpt from “Art in the Embassy Pristina”
I n t r o d u c t i o n
Part of the mission of the Ambassador is to promote cultural exchange between the U.S. and Kosovo, in part through the use of American art via the Art in Embassies program. Created in 1963, this program enables ambassadors to display works of American art in their residences. Most works are on loan from museums, galleries, and artists that share our belief in art as a universal language that brings people together.
Our exhibition follows two major themes: architecture/engineering and music. The entryway to the Residence includes three black and white photos of 1960s-era houses in the California modern style designed by my father, noted San Diego architect Homer Delawie, and photographed by Douglas Simmonds, a Los Angeles-based architectural photographer. The key elements of this style include post-and-beam construction and large glass walls to bring the outside environment visually into the living space. Black and white photos are complemented on the opposite wall by three colorful works on paper called “mechanical abstractions made of imagined engineered elements” by Brooklyn-based artist Tricia Keightley. She notes that, while many people assume her work is computer designed, in fact she improvises the forms entirely with pencil and paint. The theme of California modern architecture continues into the living room with large and small oil paintings of houses by Southern California artist
Danny Heller, most of whose work focuses on mid-20th century buildings. Looking North, Trestle Bridge Over the Potomac by Martin Kotler shows a classic Washington landscape from the Virginia shore.
The musical theme begins with a lithograph by John Nelson, reproducing a remarkable pencil sketch showing two street corner musicians. This is followed by a silkscreen and a print on musical themes by famed pop artist Roy Lichtenstein; both use the Ben-Day dot technique that is a signature of Liechtenstein’s work. Finally, there are two watercolors loaned by Northern Virginia-based artist Rachel Collins. Collins exhibits at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia, where I resided before moving to Kosovo. This exhibition would not have been possible without the generous artists and institutions that loaned the works to Art in Embassies. I particularly want to thank exhibition curator Imtiaz Hafiz.
Ambassador Greg Delawie