The latest iteration of John Gerrard’s Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas), 2017 will be unveiled in central Madrid outside the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza to coincide with the 25th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP25) on 2nd December 2019. This iconic gesture of protest will be shown on a giant LED wall in the public realm outside the museum and will continue the series of outdoor presentations of the work that has included: Somerset House, London (2017), Desert X, California, (2019), Hamburg Rathausmarkt, Hamburg (2019), with further presentations to come in 2020.
Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas) 2017 depicts the site of the ‘Lucas Gusher’ — the world’s first major oil find — in Spindletop, Texas in 1901, now barren and exhausted. The site is recreated as a digital simulation and placed at its centre a flagpole bearing a flag of perpetually-renewing pressurised black smoke.
The computer generated Spindletop runs in exact parallel with the real site in Texas throughout the year: the sun rising at the appropriate times and the days becoming longer and shorter according to the seasons. The simulation is non-durational (having no beginning or end) and is run live by software that is calculating each frame of the animation in real time.
John Gerrard: Western Flag (Spindletop, Texas), 2017
Exhibition Dates: December 2 – December 13, 2019
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza