26 April, 2007

"A Piece of Picasso"

Le rêve 1932
Pablo Picasso

It looks like David Pryce-Jones has weighed in on Pablo. I would say that he pulls no punches.


I guess I was being a little too kind on the old boy.


Anonymous said...

Tooo kewl Casey! I have a picasso book and I don't remember seeing this one. He did loads of stuff though, I'm sure that there are alot of pieces that I haven't seen. LOLOL Thanks for sharing this one!

jafabrit said...

I don't think there is an effort to hide what sort of man he was, is there? He was a brilliant bastard.

Casey Klahn said...

After all is said, I have to say that i like his art. He is probably the most noteworthy artist of the 20th century, but i think it's going to go down hard on the artist in history. Van Gogh, the "man of art" of the 19th century; Picasso of the 20th.
Will art history continue to position the person who does the art in a place of merit, or will subject take over? Or, worse yet, will meaning become the raison d'etre of art in the 21st Century?
Looks like Corrine has said it best. Good one!

Philip said...

I have to say Casey that you are scraping the barrel in quoting the likes of David Pryce-Jones. He is a well known far right scoundrel and his writing is always full of typical neocon prejudice. What about him and his flight from France in 1940? Why didn't HE stay and fight? I'm sorry but I can't take the article you quote seriously as it is so transparently politically motivated - nothing to do with art and scant to do with the life of Picasso.

Are you just trying to tease?

Casey Klahn said...

I remember a lot of guys in flight from the Nazis in France in 1940 - something called Dunkirk. An example of an heroic flight, though. I'm interested in whether DPJ was part of that - did you Google him?
If I disregarded all writers for their political shade, I would be disregarding perhaps 98% of art critics and writers. The NY Times and the UK Telegraph are prime examples of so far off my scale as to be wretched. But, I still look for kernels on art, as I am open minded.
That open mindedness, BTW, used to be a hallmark of liberality back in my days as one (1970's).
As far as Picasso - he made his bed, and now he must sleep in it. I didn't make up his politics.
I didn't see much politics in that article, except to issue an "a priori" complaint about his communism - which I think is understood and appropriate. All else was personal attack, and I use that to point out that when we lionize actual scoundrels ( like Pablo Picasso) in art, we sully the artist as parson.
Am I to be compared to Picasso in the public mind? I hope that no one would want to be.
Isn't the better argument about the place of the artist in art history, rather than the politics of either the artist or the critic?
If not, then why is the conservative art critic automatically wrong?

Philip said...

I don't see any reason why Picasso should be criticised on account of his communism. I don't know exactly what form of communism he supported so I would have liked to have heard about that from his own lips. State capitalism (not communism) has been the order of the day in several countries (Russia and China for example) and, to my knowledge, 'real' communism has never existed anywhere to date. It would be wrong to assume that Picasso was supportive of state capitalism although maybe he was. Whatever, he was entitled to his views just like the rest of us. Should we equally condemn those artists that have been a part of US imperialism?

Casey Klahn said...

I guess I could set up a hypothetical "Democracy" or "Pure Capitalism" and say that it's never been achieved.
It's a straw dog.
Is Cuba an accomplished communism?
If the straw dog argument that communism might be okay, but we don't know because it's never been achieved is to be accepted, then I would say that it's been tried plenty, and the buzzer has gone off. It will never, and can never be accomplished. I say this because of the monumental failures, excesses (try murder and wholesale slaughter for examples) and now, disbanding of communist nations. Game over!
You can't just say: "US Imperialism", and let that be a given. Besides, which artists would that be? Thomas Hart Benton? Norman Rockwell?
Also, it does not work to assert equivalence - for instance between the USSR and the USA. The moral ground between them was vast and wide.
The basis for my criticism of Picasso is that the artist is part of his art, and if the artist is morally decrepit, then it does reflect on the broader community of artists. That the greatest artist of the 20th Century was duplicitous politically, collaborated with the Nazis (what defense can there be for that?) and abused women - does that argue for the place of the artist in politics?
Let's hope not.
One of the reasons I like the Expressionists is that they assiduously avoided politics. I feel it focuses the spotlight on the art.

Philip said...

I could go on arguing this point as there is little of what you say that I agree with. However, I do agree that the issue is going much wider than what your blog is about so I also accept that this is not the place to do so (even though you began a whole judgemental train of thought about Picasso's life). All I will say is that I feel your views reflect the culture that you were born and brought up in. The world does not consist solely of the West Casey!

Just a couple of final points in relation to specifics - I am not a communist but I disagree that it has been tried plenty - it has not even been tried once in fact. And no Cuba is state run capitalism just like all the others. There is a masssive gulf between state capitalism and communism.

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks. In the department of loose ends, I want to make sure to let you know, Philip, that Picasso is appreciated for his art here. It's good stuff (on a formal level), and I like it very much.
The first line that Ed Harris utters in the movie Pollock is, "F--- Picasso!" But, he's not being judgmental in a moral sense, he's being competitive.
Sorry to slam on your art hero.
I guess I have heard little of this "state capitalism" argument, so I learned that much here.
The west, the west. Of course I belong to my culture, and don't romanticize the far east at all. I've been there.
Anyway, now I am interested in the Abstract Expressionists. One of the threads that I will follow (briefly) is the history creep that attends these great lights of 20th Century art - critics adding their political agendas where there was almost none. Obtuse social critiques of artists who wanted to put the focus on the painting abound, and I want none of it.

Philip said...

I have to say (and I promise that this is the last word!)Picasso is no hero of mine as I do not believe in the concept of heroes. I do admire his work though although my interest in it has waned these last 20 years or so.

His life - well I think a lot needs to be understood of early 20th century European politics (Spain in particular), the Spanish macho culture that existed then and the success of Russian (so-called)communist propaganda that many were tkaen in by for awhile - to get to the roots of the man. It easy to judge harshly from our current 21st century perpectives.

For my part, I have made a study of the Spanish Civil War, why people turned to the left politically and the role of the Catholic Church in all this. Fascinating stuff if you have the inclination to learn more about it. What I am saying is that there is a need to put Picasso in the context of the world 'then'when judging him.

I think the points you raise about Picasso are interesting and were well worth bringing up for those who are interested(like me). It is a pity that more fellow bloggers are not so keen to go down this route as I enjoy this kind of debate!! Thanks!

Casey Klahn said...

I just finished watching "Pollock" by Ed Harris, and I found myself wondering what the "sell" was for the audience there. I mean, the kid at the video rental store called it Polack, as in: "someone from Poland".
I think the general readership may lurk about, finding whatever level of interest they may have in these political and/or religious subjects.
This is why I go a different way in the context of art, though. I mean, I think art has a limited platform in these fields. That's one of my argument threads for why art should stick to formal issues of art itself.
A local artist here, who is sort of put-offish, last year turned his website into a platform for his politics, and I was immediately turned off!
The other side of the coin, I know, is that art is a foundational part of culture. That has its baggage and connections with it, I know.
Hope your show is going well, Philip. I am negotiating a big sale or hanging in Utah, which would be a nice turn around for me! Cheers to everyone and thanks for reading!

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism