Admirers of the works of Pablo Picasso, as well as anyone interested in sculpture, should not want to miss the extraordinary new exhibit “Picasso Sculpture” installed at MoMA (through February 7, 2016). The collection is breathtaking and reveals various stages of the artist’s sculpture from the years 1902 through 1964. As with his paintings, Picasso’s sculptures, many of which come from his personal collection, span so many different styles and reflects his phenomenal imagination and range.
There are some 140 works on display from public and private collections, including 50 from the Musée national Picasso—Paris, which has collaborated in this exhibition. As one walks through the galleries, one observes the artist’s work in various forms--clay, cardboard, plaster, bronze, sheet metal, depending on the period represented. If Picasso had never achieved fame for his paintings, his sculpture alone should have deserved to earn him important status.
Striking, for example, is his cubist “Seated Woman” of unfired clay dating to Barcelona in 1902. There is also the eye-catching “Guitar” of ferrous sheet metal and wire dating to Paris, 1914. I was also fascinated by his plaster “Bust of a Woman” of 1931. There is a section devoted entirely to his extraordinary work in sheet metal.
The exhibition is well annotated, including the story of his efforts to create a monument to his friend, poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire. One can see some of his attempts. none of which achieved acceptance by the memorial committee. The story may seem familiar to those who have followed contemporary battles over monuments.
Allow sufficient time for your visit, as there is so much detail to observe, and you may want to return as well. This is one of those very special shows that stand out among others, and MoMA deserves credit for its effective execution. At MoMA, 11 West 53rd Street. Phone: 212-708-9431. Posted September 18, 2015.