Monday, May 3, 2010

Picasso & Co.

Meaghan and I recently made a weekend out of NYC. We moseyed into the MOMA to see two shows: "Picasso: Themes and Variations" and "The Modern Myth: Drawing Mythologies in Modern Times".

Picasso: Themes and Variations
March 28–August 30, 2010
Curated by Deborah Wye

"Ecce Homo," After Rembrandt from Suite 156
Etching and aquatint, plate: 19 1/2 x 16 1/8"

Upon entering the Paul J. Sachs Gallery on the second floor, it was apparent that the works on display represented decades of experimentation. Picasso is prolific to the point that one assumes he came from a lineage of lobsters. To see him sketch out new compositions on already complete works shows either a disregard for the pristine or uncontainable excitement. It actually turned out that while he was sharing print basements he was running out of surfaces on which to print and sketch. Printmakers were at first surprised that a newcomer to printmaking was using his own methods that yielded success.

Armchair Woman No. 1, state VIII & XI. Lithograph,
composition: 27 3/8 x 20 1/2"

Seeing his progression within a series is an enlightenment to how a painter can benefit from the physicality of lithography. Picasso claimed that in a painting his movement of thought would be covered as a composition progressed. In printmaking his movement could be documented by printing every state. In this sense, there is no longer the secret life of a painting.

The Modern Myth: Drawing Mythologies in Modern Times
March 10–September 6, 2010
Curated by Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães & Luis Pérez-Oramas

Mark Rothko. Archaic Idol. 1945. Ink & gouache on paper, 21 7/8 x 30"

This show on the third floor includes works from 1797 to 2007 that explore motifs of classical mythology. Many of the works are on paper and there are some strange mixed media pieces as well. Among the artists represented are Matthew Barney, Joseph Beuys, Paul Cézanne, Enrique Chagoya, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Willem de Kooning, Juan Downey, Max Ernst, Adolph Gottlieb, Arshile Gorky, Wifredo Lam, Matta, Ana Mendieta, Wangechi Mutu, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Jackson Pollock, Odilon Redon, Mark Rothko, Jim Shaw, and Andy Warhol.

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