Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Picasso had no heart

Also over at the Times is an article discussing the show Picasso and the Masters, a boffo show at the Grand Palais. According to Michael Kimmelman, the inevitable comparisons "are not always to Picasso's benefit."

"I lingered in the last room, watching visitors stumble a bit bleary-eyed from the earlier galleries to find Manet’s “Olympia,” Rembrandt’s painting of Hendrickje Stoffels bathing in a brook, Ingres’s grisaille “Odalisque” and Goya’s “Naked Maja” vying with a slew of late, mostly slapdash nudes by the great matador of Modernism. The whole ensemble of pictures was dazzling and fatuous. “Overkill” doesn’t adequately describe the effect."

In many ways, the review is the kind of arch-browed, one-sided conversation that readers love to hate from reviewers. I think it is kind of fantastic.

"The canon, in other words, remained his starting point but increasingly became his crutch. His achievements were Promethean and unparalleled in the last century, but having said that, as the show proves almost despite itself, Picasso ended up often mired in vain, backward-looking riffs on grander achievements."


Of COURSE said...

Anonymous said...

Picasso himself, once when being praised as an artist said: " I am
an entertainer"
And I will no doubt be ripped apart by snarling dogs for my opinion that most of his stuff is a bunch of weird-ass crap, as is much of what is being produced these days.

madeleine said...


so then the question must be posed: what artists/works of art do you value?

Anonymous said...

I know them when I see them.
You ask, what works of art and artists do you value....?
I like stuff that reflects the person's vision and mastery and respect for technique and craft.
Composition, subject matter is also equally vital if you are looking at the parts, which in a successful work, or execution, the total effect exceeds the sum of the parts or elements.
Picasso had skill, he was a master of his craft, but when I look at a picture of a woman, I want all her eyes in the right places.
What WAS that boy smoking?
So much of the "art" that is being tossed out there is supposed to be judged on "message", this is all well and good, but under the umbrella of
"art", much that is

Anonymous said...

shallow and showing no skill is being presented as deep and masterful..... ok, let's see what lasts

madeleine said...

Dear Anon,

You said that “you know good art when you see it.” I think that is a pretty flimsy response. Though you then back it up with several unobjective, laterally weighted descriptors, the idea that one can “know” good art when they see it is a pretty counterproductive stance that would seem to requite little subtlety on the part of the art and the viewer. It leaves no room for the kind of quasi-formed revelations that sometimes occur in the penumbra, without our awareness.

As for your desire to see a “woman’s eyes where they belong,” that boils down to a choice of aesthetics, not merit. And while aesthetics can be a part of a larger whole success or failure of a work, striving to define a work only in that manner reduces it (the work) to decoration.

So my question, to you is still: what works/artists do you find compelling?