I recently attended the exhibition of Picasso Sculpture at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), and purchased a same-day timed ticket when I arrived around 12 noon, as I felt that this was the best time of day to go there. I was extremely excited about the visit, I knew it was a once in a lifetime event, and very much appreciated the college project, as I have read a great deal about Picasso since my early teens, and the New York Times declared that it is: “One of the best exhibitions you’ll ever see at The Museum of Modern Art.” This study of Picasso’s influential and highly innovative three dimensional work is America’s first such exhibition in close to 50 years. I was certainly not disappointed, and felt that the entrance charge was very reasonably priced for one of the world’s leading art museums, and a high ranking artist such as Pablo Picasso, who had an 80 year career and is renowned as one of the 20th Century’s most influential and greatest artists in the world, and the genius who co-created Cubism. Visiting MOMA was an incredible experience, and having the opportunity to see such a large number of Picasso’s works was like a dream come true, and as the exhibition is running through to February 2016, I will recommend that some of my friends and family go and see it as well.
This incredible exhibition which is larger than I had anticipated, boasts 140 works which cover a period of 60 years and were produced between 1902 and 1964. The pieces are vastly different: some are small, others are large, some are folded sheet metal, some are hand carved from wood, some are modeled using plaster, some are welded in iron, and others are cast in bronze, or put together from many types of jetsam and flotsam. And a number of the pieces are hyperbolically round or as thin as a reed (Art News, 2015).
I had read a long time ago that Picasso adored sculpture, and spent a great deal of time on it carrying out experiments and applying both unconventional techniques and materials as well as traditional ones. The former were very apparent at the exhibition, much to the delight of myself and the other viewers who expressed an opinion. It was clear to me that the exhibits were the work of a great artist who had intense freedom of expression and who did not believe in holding back. Picasso obviously enjoyed breaking the all the rules of tradition, and for me, that was the most exhilarating aspect of the sculptures that I viewed (MOMA, 2015).
For me, Picasso Sculpture was a journey into Picasso’s protracted love affair with with sculpture, and I particularly enjoyed the emphasis on the processes and materials that inspired him. MOMA did an excellent job of adding photographs and written information sheets on particular works. This was very beneficial for those who did not have any previous knowledge, and these additions certainly advanced my appreciation. What really shone out was the way in which Picasso totally overturned his history of sculpture by applying his lifelong dedication to perpetual reinvention. I thought that the organization of Picasso Sculpture in chapters, which represented specific periods in which Picasso dedicated his life to his sculpture, each time investigating the modern prospects of this ancient form of art with energizing intensity, was an excellent idea (MOMA, 2015). My favorite was the second gallery which features all six of the 1914 “Glass of Absinthe” painted bronze sculptures.
I will never forget this experience, and although there was some criticism that the number of exhibits was too large, for me, it was a magnificent chance to see so many. After all, many of the pieces were actually loans, and this includes around 50 exhibits from the Parisian Musée Picasso, and it may well have only been due to the fact that MOMA was heading the exhibition, that they were loaned at all (New York Times, 2015).