I like Picasso’s new stuff better than his old stuff

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Absolutely loved the Picasso exhibition last Sunday! My husband has always been a fan of Picasso’s more abstract works and MrO’s own designs are heavily influenced by Pablo. But personally I didn’t get Picasso’s style at all until “watching” it develop in chronological order. I found his earlier stuff very moody & even ugly, except for “Wine Bottle & Die” charcoal from 1914 when he started using straight edges instead of freehand.

For a large period after that i prefer his sculptures over his paintings, like “Bull’s Head” in 1942 where the bull’s face is a bike seat, and the 6 piece “The Bathers” he created out of wood which looks so modern and edgy – i actually noticed a similar (new) sculpture at the Addison Rd art centre in Marrickville today & wondered if the artist came up with it off their own bat or if they were influenced by Pablo’s works.

I found the sheer quantity of bronze sculptures mindblowing & kinda wondered how he could afford to spare so much metal (& also how hot & big his furnace would have to be to work with it?)

I found elements of “Pitcher and skeleton” fascinating but still a little dark for me. The first painting i really loved (well, half of it) has quite a sad derivation – it’s called “Massacre in Korea” from 1951. I only photographed the right hand side as i enjoyed the clash of shapes between fleshy butts and modern helmets of the futuristic robot-looking soldiers.

It was nice to see MrO’s longtime favourite painting “The Kiss” in real life, and i joked that the guy looks a bit Middle Eastern (the nose) – since visiting the museums in France & Italy i’m finding the depictions of Arab men a little entertaining when i notice them (more on this another time).

And lastly, 1970 was a good year for Picasso i reckon – “Reclining Man playing Guitar” has a vagina in the pic so i sniggered and pointed it out to MrO in a very mature fashion (nice to think of the artist being in love though, and assuming that happy times inspire happy art i guess it shows why happiness can be good for us all). I also liked “the Matador” from 1970. It’s great to see a painting across the room and know what it is about without any background – it’s something Pablo’s later stuff does really well.

So yeah, I think we’re really lucky to have Picasso’s works in Australia at all (the official Picasso museum in France is undergoing renovations & won’t reopen until 2013, allowing for the first and probably last world tour of Picasso’s works). I feel very privileged to have got down there (even prouder that i managed to make it a family day). The exhibition is still at the NSW Art Gallery until March 25 (with a couple of sessions open until midnight & offering music & flamenco performances) so try to check it out if you can 🙂

All images (c) rights reserved by Pablo Picasso

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