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Spanish Government Honours Irish Museum of Modern Art Director Enrique Juncosa
The Ambassador of Spain in Ireland, Her Excellency Ms. Mercedes Rico, presented IMMA Director Enrique Juncosa with the Order of Civil Merit. Photo: Justin Mac Innes / Mac Innes Photography.

DUBLIN.- The Spanish State awarded one of its highest decorations, the Order of Civil Merit, to Enrique Juncosa, Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art since 2003. The award was made by King Juan Carlos of Spain in recognition of Mr Juncosa’s outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland and his work in promoting cultural cooperation between Ireland and Spain. It was presented last evening by the Ambassador of Spain in Ireland, Her Excellency Ms. Mercedes Rico, at the Ambassador’s Residence in Ailesbury Road.

The Order of Civil Merit was established by King Alfonso XIII in 1926 to “reward the civic virtues of civil servants as well as the extraordinary services to the Nation of Spanish and foreign subjects.” Mr Juncosa has been awarded the Encomienda de Número of this order, which is the highest category.

Speaking at the presentation, Ms Rico, who nominated Mr Juncosa for the award, said: “Enrique Juncosa’s remarkable work over the past eight years has not only greatly enhanced IMMA’s reputation abroad, but has also contributed significantly to Spain’s standing in Ireland and internationally. We believe Mr Juncosa is an exceptional example of a true European, who through his work in the international arts arena has had a major impact on both the cultural life of Ireland and the reputation of his native country.”

Commenting on the award Enrique Juncosa said: “I feel both honoured and delighted to receive this award. It closes in a grand way an important period of my life in which I have greatly enjoyed living and working in Ireland. I remember that when I was about to move here, some colleagues of mine said that I would disappear from the map by choosing to work abroad. This clearly proves them wrong. I also modestly feel that my work has been good for the already deep Spanish and Irish relationships and for greater collaboration across the European arts sector generally, which seems particularly relevant at this time of crisis. This decoration will certainly frame in a very special way my memories of Ireland.”

Born in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 1961, Enrique Juncosa has been Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin since 2003. Prior to that he was Deputy Director of the Reina Sofia National Museum of Modern Art (MNCARS) in Madrid, and before that Deputy Director of the Institute of Modern Art (IVAM) in Valencia. He was also the curator of the Spanish Pavilion in the Venice Biennale in 2009. He has curated more than 30 exhibitions since the early 1990s, most recently Juan Uslé (2004), Dorothy Cross (2005), Howard Hodgkin (2006), Miroslaw Balka (2007), Miquel Barceló (2008), James Coleman (2009), Philippe Parreno (2009), The Moderns (2010) and Philip Taaffe (2011). He has also published six books of poetry and two collections of essays, and is also the editor of the IMMA journal Boulevard Magenta.

Enrique Juncosa’s tenure at IMMA has won widespread praise from the Irish arts community, more especially for the number of leading international artists whose work he has brought to the Irish gallery-going public and for his highly-effective promotion of Irish artists at home and abroad. The rapid development of IMMA’s Collection, through his strategic acquisitions policy, and his innovative approach to IMMA’s Education and Community, National and Artists’ Residency Programmes are also seen as having yielded rich rewards. Mr Juncosa is due end his term at the Museum later this year.

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