late picasso


But the problem with late Picasso is real. It has to do with his stubborn insistence on diaristic expressionism increasingly isolated from changing times. Duchamp moved to New York, to the future, Picasso to the Mediterranean, the past. (Try finding a single contemporary artifact depicted in these works. No beer cans or soup cans here.) And anyway, didn’t Warhol, finishing what Duchamp started, drive a stake of ridicule into the heart of sincerity, into merely “optical” talent? From a postmodern point of view, Picasso’s restless hand, even at its most thrillingly uningratiating, even at its most goofy and cartoony, simply runs into a wall when it hits irony, as if trying too hard. To an extent, you can laugh uncomfortably at the current exhibition’s musquetero/clowns with their limp swords, their Marcel Marceau flowers, but is this really the game Picasso means to play or have we been conditioned by Jim Shaw’s thrift store art, Richard Prince’s sad jokes, Kippenberger, Koons, and so on? Picasso’s pretty girls and boys watched by old men seem rather prudish in light of sexual radicals like Aubrey Beardsley and Hans Bellmer, or even the gooey seductions of Lisa Yuskevage. As for tapping into an unbroken stream of blood and sand descending from Minoan funeral games by way of Goya, the lonely torero staring death in the face is, surely, an existential cliché. There are Jackson Pollock paintings from around 1940 of minotaurs’ heads, homages to Picasso by way of Jung, that are so full of punishing psychic fury that the master’s versions in comparison can seem like Cotes D’Azur tourist ceramics.

more from David Brody at artcritical here.