Friday, November 21, 2014

Another Picasso Show?

Another Picasso show has arrived at Gagosian Gallery at 21 st in Chelsea. “Picasso and the Camera” was curated by Picasso’s biographer, John Richardson, with the help of others (including Picasso’s grandson).

What shocked me at the get-go was how multi-sensory and unpredictable the show was  in its design. I always had this image in my head of Picasso bouncing around from drawings to paintings to photographs to sculpting something to moving about in his studio. Just as the camera allowed Picasso to better understand how he painted/sculpted (as well as serving documentary purposes); the show mapped the innumerable ways that technology could manifest itself in the creative process. It’s not as easy as merely exhibiting the photographs he was involved with.

Walking around the open exhibition spaces, I was able to make connections to the various media representations. It was refreshing to view an original painting, see how it was photographed by Picasso and view a photograph of Picasso making the work by another photographer simultaneously. There would be a bust of a cubist sculpture, and placed next to that would be photographic images on a wall of Picasso drawing outlines of figures with light. I hadn’t realized how much Picasso collaborated with photographers and filmmakers. A grid of lithographs, “Diurnes”, showed about 30 experiments with photogram’s Picasso made with Andre Villers.

The central multi-media feature in the middle of the gallery contained a room with ceiling-high walls, upon which various films are projected (above eye level). Viewers could enter/exit at each corner of the square shaped room and had many films to focus up on. One of the films, “Les Mystere Picasso,” directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, shows Picasso drawing on a glass plane with paint. The film gave me insight into Picasso’s process. Looking at other peoples’ gazing faces, I realized how important it was to interpret the ways Picasso worked just as much the finished works themselves.


  1. You did a great job describing the diversity of Picasso’s work in the show.
    I think you hit the nail on the head in the way you described the multi sensory experience of being in the gallery, and how you spoke about a few specific pieces to illustrate the way technology manifested itself in Picasso’s creative process. I enjoyed how you communicated the connection photography shared with his sculptures, drawings, and paintings because this is what I felt the exhibition to be all about. You were also very effective in relating the importance of Picasso’s process of creating his work while employing different media to bounce off of his own ideas as well as collaborations with other filmmakers and photographers. I think your review captured the purpose and most important aspects of the exhibit.

  2. I like that you point out that the show - despite being yet another exhibition of Picasso - goes beyond just merely being a presentation of photographs by the man. You explain well how the show really presents the various ways cameras entered Picasso's practice, i.e., the connections between media.

    Some quibbles, I feel like your use of "/" is sort of confusing and could easily be substituted with "and". Also, the sentence you start with "I always" could use some punctuation or rewording, it gets to be a bit much.