18 May, International Museum Day, free access.

In conjunction with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) held in Madrid, the work Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2017, by the Irish artist John Gerrard, was installed in the courtyard of the museum. It recreates the place where in 1901 the world’s first oil well, known as Lucas Gusher, was drilled at Spindletop Hill (Texas, USA), a place that is now barren and exhausted.

The installation, which belongs to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary collection, comprises a digital simulation in which a black smoke flag is projected over real images of Spindletop that transmit the changing atmospheric conditions there throughout the year.

Gerrard’s work, originally created as a commission to mark Earth Day from the UK television station Channel 4, offers a critique of the exploitation and exhaustion of natural resources and of human beings’ key role in global warming.