Culture Vulture/Photo diary: Picasso Sculpture at MOMA

November 8, 2015

(click photos to enlarge)

If you have an hour to kill in midtown between now and February 7, 2016, you could give yourself no better treat than to take a walk through the show of Picasso sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art.
11-4 intro to picasso sculpture
The sculptures Picasso created are so free and fun to look at, so simple and so sophisticated at the same time. It makes sense that he was turned on by African and Oceanic work he saw at an ethnographic museum in Paris — many of these pieces remind me of the vivid masks and ritual objects you can see in the Michael Rockefeller collection at the Metropolitan Museum. I especially loved tracking the faces, which are so simple and varied and often comical.

11-4 head of a woman11-4 woman with leaves closeup11-4 vallauris ceramics vase bull owl11-4 standing figure with dots11-4 picasso goat skull and bottle
These drawings (part of a series called “An Anatomy”) reminded me of Roz Chast cartoons.

11-4 an anatomy series
I also had a look at the show by Lebanese multimedia artist Walid Raad, which has two parts, one of which occupies the museum’s central atrium (below) and is called “Scratching on things I could disavow.”

11-4 walid raad atrium11-4 walid raad wall collage11-4 blood drip walid raad
It’s an intriguing, complicated, dense, somewhat impenetrable Borgesian conceptual work involving fictionalized artifacts reflecting real contemporary events. I’m not sure it’s really possible to grasp the work without attending his lecture-demonstration “walkthroughs,” which occur many times in the course of the week. I’ll have to go back for one of those.

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