Viewing Picasso And Chicago

Picasso1
Picasso1

The rain streams down my window today in a steady fashion as I sit down at my computer to collect my thoughts on, Picasso and Chicago. An exhibition of Picasso’s work at The Art Institute of Chicago, open though May 12. I usually like to wait a month after a show has been open to view the exhibit in hopes the crowds have thinned a bit. So, I waited my month, and then I gave it an extra week or two, I even choose to go during members' hours only, but in the end the crowds won out. Picasso draws a crowd, I am afraid you cannot avoid the fact. Now you know, no point in waiting. Get yourself over to the show, just face the crowded exhibit facts.

  • Given the crowds you will have to approach certain pieces of art works, like a hockey player moves towards a puck on the crowded boards; Lead with your body, as gracefully as you can while, knowing, contact is inevitable.
  • You will have to deal with the audio tour people who turn their recorders up full blast, while simultaneously gawking at the Picasso images the recorded tour deems important.
  • And at some point there will be someone who will violate your personal space.

These things never fail to happen to me and always leave me a bit cranky by the end of the show. However, the art work continually makes me happy.

Crowds aside, I was shocked to discover the permanent collection at The Art Institute of Chicago, holds over 400 pieces of art work done by Picasso, with over 200 on view in the current exhibition. With this amount of work on display, I eagerly stepped into the exhibit not sure what I might fall in love with. I respect Picasso's work greatly, but he does not make my list of top ten artists. In the end, four things stood out for me in this show.

One, I found I was drawn to one delightful print after another. From a series of proofs that showed Picasso’s thought process by the changes he made to a single etching. To a very straight forward representational series of aquatints, illustrating animals, from a hen to an ostrich. Then of course there were his following linocuts that left me breathless. I loved the series, Still life with lunch, 1962. found at the very end of the exhibit. The red and white print really stood out for me as the whole series did.

Picasso2
Picasso2

Two was the sheer volume and the diversity of mediums in Picasso’s work. As an artist I would be content making 1/4, the amount of work Picasso created in his life time. I left the exhibit thinking I should lock myself in my studio for a week, leaving my computer on the other side of the door. But where would that leave us?

picasso4
picasso4

Three, was a video created for the exhibit which talked about two of Picasso’s paintings and one of his sculpture's. I noticed a lot of people seem to pass the video by, missing a lot of fun facts. I would describe the video as “a behind the scenes look” so to speak of these three pieces of art work. Please, do not walk by without taking the time to view. I loved discovering the paintings that lie beneath Picasso’s original paintings, and I never new Picasso used white house paint for a bit.

Four, Picasso and Chicago, a major point of the exhibition, I should say something on the matter. So, I will say this. My professor John Walker at the beginning of graduate school told my whole class, while sitting around a table at his house in Maine, where we painted for a week, these words of advise. “Be Generous.” That is what Picasso was when he gifted the city of Chicago his sculpture Richard J. Daily Center Sculpture, 1967.

picasso3
picasso3

While you are at the museum make sure to check out The Picasso Effect, a bunch of smaller related exhibitions. My favorite, The Artist and the Poet, I wrote about here.

Enjoy!