And art continues its march into mainstream pop culture … with the newly released/leaked (who can tell anymore) Kanye West track featuring Jay-Z, “That’s My Bitch,” which includes the following artful references to Basquiat, Picasso, Mona Lisa, and Larry Gagosian.
Picasso would have turned 129 today, if the polymath artist, sculptor and co-inventor of cubism hadn’t died in 1973 at the age of 92. Born in 1881, the artist rapidly commenced almost a full century of being awesome.
So today we will put this Jonathan Richman song on repeat and remember that Pablo Picasso was never, ever called an asshole.
Reuters reports that, “A new online database recording more than 20,000 works of art looted by the Nazis from Jews in France and Belgium during World War Two shows that at least half have yet to be returned to their original owners.”
Between World War I and II, there was a strong gust of classicism that swept through the Western European avant-garde. Artists from across the continent embraced the language of the ancients as a way to reflect their own time and culture. This taste for antique forms can be interpreted in many different ways, including as an attempt to seek order in a tumultuous time, a way to cloak a modern ideology with powerful symbols, or a reaction to the radicalism of the previous decades. Regardless of the root cause or causes, the style that was at once familiar and dignified was a rich source of inspiration for artists, designers, and architects of all types.
This odd chapter in modern art is the subject of the Guggenheim Museum’s current exhibition Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936, which is a very attractive exhibition that gathers together a remarkable array of objects associated with almost every -ism from the era. The power of classicism is partly due to its malleability and how it was able to lend its voice to any and every modern movement that sought refuge in its silhouettes, drapery, linear logic, and airs of history.
Prague itself is like a museum, where contemporary architectural gems are situated next to old landmarks. It’s an embarrassment of riches. One day we walked through Prague’s 10th century castle district, then went down the hill a couple of blocks to find a Frank Gehry-designed office complex, and continued throughout the city to see Baroque, Gothic, Art Nouveau, and Cubist buildings. But if you had to visit just one Prague museum, it would have to be the Veletrzni Palac (Fair Trade Palace), a truly massive collection of Czech and European work originally built in 1925 for trade fairs.
According to Fast Company, Britain’s Tate Liverpool Museum is offering visitors to its Picasso: Peace and Freedom exhibition a virtual gift: a virtual copy of the artist’s “Monument to the Spaniards who Died for France” (1945-7) on your mobile phone to show and share with friends.
… Florida’s Dail Museum needs money to complete its new building … a woman fell into a Rose Period Picasso last Friday at the Met and ignited some of the funniest blog comments I’ve ever read on a New York Times blog (don’t worry, both the woman & the Picasso will be fine) … Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario receives its biggest contemporary art donation ever … and a list of all the biennials you can look forward to in 2010.