This is Sandy Brown Jensen, and you’re listening to Viz City, KLCC’s arts review program. Today your intrepid arts reporter is at the Picasso Museum in Antibes, France, asking, “Why Picasso?”
Why is Picasso such a big deal, and what can I learn from him?
He teaches me to be fearless: Picasso worked in a dozen different mediums from paint to photography to ceramics, which I am looking at right now. In front of me is a wall of about 125 ceramic plates. A lot of them simply have happy faces on them; bullfights, lobsters, birds. Whatever he imagined, he made. It seems to me obvious that he didn’t care what critics said—he just overflowed with exuberance.
I want to be that fearless in life and art.
Now I’m looking at a drawing of a dancing forest creature like Pan playing pipes, and I learn from Picasso to express childlike wonder and playfulness.
In another room, a series of minotaur drawings shows Picasso’s obsession with our mythological past. Next, I fall in love with a little owl. It is so lifelike and looks out at the world through Picasso’s eyes, which he has added by cutting out the owl’s eyes and replacing them with his own.
Cats, doves, pigeons and goats are all here—like any of us, Picasso loved his animals. He participated in political activism, and his art often expresses that.He drew a wild, aggressive cat with a dying bird in its mouth in 1939 when Hitler’s troops marched into Czechoslovakia. His doves became an international symbol of peace.
Picasso teaches me to see my world with both eyes wide open, missing nothing.
Viz City is co-produced by Terry Way and Sandy Brown Jensen.