The Scream 2021 by Nikki Maloof, in The Echo of Picasso at the Malaga Picasso Museum, which is celebrating 20 years. © MUSEO PICASSO MÁLAGA
Entertaining echoes
Art and culture

Entertaining echoes

The Picasso Museum celebrates Pablo, the 'influencer'

Georgina Oliver


Friday, 27 October 2023, 15:28


Oh nooo, not another... "Picasso Celebration 1973-2023" show. There's something scary - almost Halloween-esque - about celebrating the 'sacred monster' of modern art, or rather his final curtain call, throughout Europe and North America, for an entire year. The brief was to conjure up fun 'golden jubilee' of-his-death museum events, and the competition was fierce.

Tricks and treats

The prize for the most intriguing exhibition title has to go to New York's Brooklyn Museum: Pablo-matic - Picasso according to Hannah Gadsby. Heard of Hannah aka Nanette of Netflix? Surely so. An art history and curatorship graduate, this exuberantly lesbian, plump 'n' proud, bespectacled... Oz stand-up comedian made no bones about having revisited the king of Cubism's "deadness" via his "problematic legacy". The trick? To re-assess his body of work through "a feminist lens", while nonetheless acknowledging its "transformative power and lasting influence". Pablo-matic ended in September, ripped to shreds by many (chiefly male) critics. What did they expect?

In the "curatorial stunner" category, the winner par excellence is... French critic and curator Éric Troncy. To be seen at Malaga's Picasso Museum (Palacio de Buenavista, C/ San Agustín, 8) until 31 March 2024, his seriously entertaining thematic overview entitled The Echo of Picasso is eye candy in the best sense of the expression: a succession of visual treats spotlighting Pablo, the 'influencer'.

The co-director of Le Consortium, a contemporary art centre based in Dijon - formerly of strong mustard fame, now also hailed as a cutting-edge cultural hub - Troncy is a master juggler, combining scholarly virtuosity with visionary playfulness. The visitor zigzags from one room to the next, under the spell of artistic juxtapositions and winks with a Picassian twist.

Hither and thither, exhibits bearing Malaga-born Pablo Ruiz Picasso's signature play hide and seek with the experimental ramifications of subsequent generations of painters, sculptors and printmakers, who have more or less overtly taken a leaf from their maestro's book. As one of these mondo mainstreamers, George Condo, put it in 2006: "For artists living at the same time as Picasso, it must have been a nightmare to keep up with a guy like him. Today we have the freedom of distance."

Whether basking in heavenly bliss or roasting in hell (more exciting?), our eternal influencer is no doubt in high spirits: his ears must be buzzing big time.

I'M 20

Just in case you've been wondering why people of all ages (mostly "not Generation Z") are wandering around the "centro" with paper bags that say "I'M 20", here's "Y": hot on the heels of The Echo of Picasso (which opened on 3 October) comes Museo Picasso Málaga's twentieth anniversary. The museum was inaugurated on 27 October, 2003, so has a host of cool celebratory activities scheduled during the build-up to Halloween, and beyond.

On the actual (birth)day, which falls on a Friday, fifty 20-year-olds and a bunch of arty influencers get to attend a free garden party held at the museum and relayed on social media; equally festive, a special citywide programme of concerts, readings and performances, dubbed Twenty Times Picasso, sets out to "pay tribute to these past two decades in which the museum has received more than nine million visitors and achieved national and international recognition as an art institution" (from 23 October to Halloween Night). Two anniversaries for the price of one - Awesome...!

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