“In the first room we are welcomed by Maurizio Cattalan’s Picasso. I saw this work when he first presented it at MoMA in New York in 1998. Visitors would take photographs next to him the way you would with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. It’s as if to say he’s more than an iconic painter; he’s an iconic figure for popular culture. He also did a performance where he had several actors dressed as Picasso. “
Maurizio Cattelan, Untitled (Picasso), 1998.
“Some artists, like Koons, George Condo and Jasper Johns, are inspired by Picasso and then, when they become successful, collect Picasso. Here, in a recent work from 2011, Koons imitates Picasso’s signature in the upper left corner of the painting. He’s superimposed different images. One of them is of a 1969 “kiss” painting by Picasso that Koons bought at auction. There is also a copy of a Titian, some antique sculptures and a reference to African art. This is interesting coming from an artist like Koons who always claimed his spiritual father was Duchamp. Koons is constantly changing styles.”
“When artists think of Picasso, this is what represents Picasso the most: these psychological portraits and this double profile. I love watching people look at this wall. Most of these paintings come from the Picasso museum or my family. On the top, second from right, is my grandmother, Marie Thérèse-Walter, who met Picasso in 1927 when she was 17 and he was 45. Below her just to the right, is my great grandmother. Both of these portraits were done in 1939—which is surprising considering the overwhelming presence of Marie- Thérèse’s beauty and the fact that this is 12 years after they met. I love the pose. She’s very confident. There’s so much sensuality. Everything with Picasso is about lust and the flesh. My grandmother spent a lot of time with her mother when she was not with my grandfather. Picasso and my great grandmother got along very well. She was a great pianist so he was very amused by the fact that she could play jazz for him.”
“I love this video by Rineke Dijkstra. These are nine school children looking at Picasso’s Weeping Woman, Picasso’s 1937 portrait of his mistress Dora Maar, at the Tate Liverpool. We never see what they are looking at; we just see them looking at something and trying to figure out what it means to them. The artwork comes alive in their faces and words. They have so much imagination. They should be art critics.”
Rineke Dijkstra, “I See a Woman Crying (Weeping Woman),” 2009.
“This series of Warhol is great. He had seen the Christian Zervos catalogue raisonné of Picasso (the most prominent catalogue raisonné of Picasso’s paintings and drawings, comprising 33 volumes) and made this series after some drawings that he was looking at. Picasso and Warhol both worked in printing and series—and both repeated images over and over. Warhol envied Picasso’s celebrity.”
Andy Warhol, (Head after Picasso).
“In my interview with him for the opening video, Houseago told me that he had dreamt about Picasso when he was a teenager. He said it was like a mystical dream. Picasso had a beard and was embracing him and encouraging him to become an artist. This monumental work reminds you that Picasso constantly worked with sculpture and painting and drawing. It’s Eros holding back Thanatos.” Thomas Houseago, “Baby.”
“This wall is done in the style of Picasso’s 1970 exhibition in Avignon where they were shown salon style without a frame. Picasso organized it. He lent the works and displayed them. At the time the paintings were not understood at all. People said that Picasso was becoming senile and didn’t know how to paint anymore. But actually at the same time he was making prints that were very precise so we know he intended for these works to look this way. At this time he is 90 and painting with an urgency and all these figures are invading his work: the Musketeers, Napoleon , a woman happily pissing (far left), a work based on a famous etching by Rembrandt. Our family was fortunate because when Picasso died, the taste was not for his late works, so the when the state selected works for the Picasso Museum (to pay off the estate taxes), many of Picasso’s late works were not chosen. So they remain in the family. All of these works on that wall come from the original Avignon show.”
“George Condo, like Picasso, is a great storyteller, so there’s a lot of vitality coming out of each work. George picked the ones he wanted to hang on this wall. When you see them together, it’s very erotic. The women are very dominant in the work and there’s a great sense of humor, which Picasso also had. Picasso had a huge influence on Condo, not only because he was a great draftsmen, because they feel the same attraction to eroticism. We liked the idea that visitors exit the exhibition through this wall by Condo. In a way, you cannot escape Picasso. You have to go through him.“