Review: Picasso season arrives in L.A. with two smashing museum shows
Picasso: A New York Story in Los Angeles
When I first heard the title of a retrospective exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s work being presented at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I hoped it would be as good as it sounds. The New Yorker’s art critic and longtime Picasso biographer, David Carrier, has written that Picasso was “the most complicated and the most misunderstood figure in modern art.” But he could also be the most complex and misunderstood artist in modern art, too.
Carrier’s description of Picasso—a true master of his craft, but a conundrum—reads in many ways. He writes that Picasso was one of the most complex artists of modernity: “his work is full of contradictions, contradictions that sometimes, in their complexity, are simply contradictory within themselves.” With these comments, Carrier has put the final nail in the coffin of the myth of the misunderstood genius, and revealed yet another example of how an artist’s life can be a work of art.
But that’s not all. Picasso’s story can also be seen as an exploration of all that was, is, and can be human. It’s an investigation into human nature, and a re-visioning and re-invention of art through the prism of our own lives.
For many, art is a form of transcendence. But just as the artist needs to be understood to be appreciated, our life can be seen as a work of art, as an exploration of humanity, too.
When you walk into any art museum, the first thought is always of the painting, especially if it was created using abstract forms or colored pencils. But as Carrier writes in his introduction, art has many, varied forms, including:
• The language of science: the way in which people communicate with each other.
• Literature: the way in which literature explores the human condition, the nature of art, and the way we live.
• History: the way in which history examines the past.
• Politics: the way in which politics is the study of power and influence.
• Business: the way in which business challenges existing structures to improve efficiency and create opportunities for growth