by Chrysa Smith

Today I did Picasso. (on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for just a few more days) Even that poor guy fell prey to the current economic downturn.

You see, most of the previous featured exhibits at this and other great urban museums have been traveling exhibits–including works on loan, national tours and a few of the museum’s own collection. Now, from what I understand, museums are pulling works from their own collections for featured exhibits. It makes economic sense when you consider what’s involved in transporting invaluable art objects around the world—especially in a business that’s not serving up disposable products of utmost necessity.
So, I didn’t think I was a fan of Cubism. And I must say, as someone not schooled in art history, my knowledge of Picasso was limited to the famous works everyone has seen somewhere—-the peace dove, the bouquet of flowers, Don Quixote. I saw none of those.

But what I did see was that there’s a lot more to Cubism than I thought. Almost puzzle-like in concept, objects are deconstructed into perspectives and parts and put back together into non-conventional forms (well, at least that’s my definition). And while I still can’t handle this style for interpretation of the human form, I did quite like a few of the Cubist interpretations of inanimate objects (by Picasso and others of the style/period)—-newspaper and violin, composition paper, lemons and ads. And I now see how Pablo is connected with one of the simplest art lessons I enjoyed as a girl—making collages.

I enjoy museums more and more as I get older. Even if I wouldn’t hang a cheap lithograph of an artist’s work on my walls, I appreciate the skill, why it was recognized, how it is important, where it fit in the realm of history, how it meshed with pop culture, economics, religion, war, politics. It broadens my world, enhances my appreciation of the arts and makes my critical thinking—a bit broader based.
I even came to my own conclusion about Picasso. Not only was he the father of cubism, collage and several children with several mothers, he was also the father of the faux finish—using combs and tools to obtain texture and depth in one dimension. That’s my call for the arts. Something I came up with as an amateur decorator, HGTV viewer and wordsmith.

Have your own views of Picasso, Cubism or museum-hopping? Please share it.