Art & Design
We all know by now that Picasso looms large—as both a pioneering artist and pop culture icon. But the enduring and wildly eclectic impact of his work, legend and image really comes alive in Picasso.Mania, a new exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris that looks at the vital role Picasso continues to play in the imaginations of many leading contemporary artists. Co-curated by Picasso’s grand-daughter Diana Widemaier Picasso, along with Didier Ottinger, the chief curator and assistant director of the Pompidou Center, and the Picasso Museum’s Emilie Bouvard, Picasso.Mania opens with a striking grid of videos, featuring contemporary artists as varied as John Baldessari, Jeff Koons and Sarah Sze talking about the master. The survey features some 414 works, 101 by Picasso, the rest by artists working in sculpture, film, painting, installation and video. Picasso gets rooms to himself; the others share space but certainly not approaches to his manic original output. Jasper Johns pays homage to two Picasso paintings: The Shadow, 1953, and Minotaur Moving His House, 1936 for his 1985 quartet The Seasons, all of which are gathered here from private collections, Martin Kippenberger humorously riffs on the artist’s outsized ego via the 1988 David Douglas Duncan photograph of Picasso on the steps of his home in Cannes, wearing enormous briefs. Kippenberg’s response is a large-format self-portrait based on photographs he took of himself dressed in only size XXL white briefs. “We chose to show the Picasso works the way Picasso himself showed them in his studio and also when he curated his own show at Galerie Georges Petit in 1932: on top of each other, more like a laboratory of thoughts,” Widmaier Picasso explained the other day, on the eve of Picasso’s birthday. (He was born October 25, 1991). “If we say that Duchamp is the father of the ready-made, then Picasso is the father of installation work, which is very much part of contemporary art.” Here, Widmaier-Picasso picks out a few of the show’s highlights.