MoMA Has The Season’s Biggest Blockbuster With Picasso: Sculpture


It's officially blockbuster season at our city's biggest museums–really excited to see how the new Whitney handles it's first major exhibition (other than its opener), the Frank Stella Retrospective, coming October 30–and this year it seems as if MoMA has landed the biggest name out of everyone. Pablo Picasso: Sculpture is a sweeping survey that manages to engage, delight, and surprise both hard-core art lovers and critics as well as more casual museum-goers. And no wonder everyone's so happy: with some 140 works on display and filled with greatest hits and rarely-shown pieces, it's “the largest museum exhibition of Picasso’s sculpture to take place in the United States in nearly half a century". Which, obviously, means this is pretty much a must.  


Picasso's Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art

As Picasso: Sculpture at MoMA makes clear, the great 20th-century master loved working in the 3D medium–he was far more prolific painter (one count is 4,300 to 700), but Picasso kept most of his sculptural creations for personal use during his lifetime–and would do so "episodically" throughout his career. The artist would get excited about a new material, or a process, and pour his energy and talent into a brilliant series of works for a few years before returning exclusively to painting. Wood, sheet metal, plaster, clay, found objects, even "beach-smoothed pebbles" (and, occasionally, cast bronze) all are amply represented here. This is a sprawling, generously laid-out exhibition–unlike last year's hugely popular Matisse Cut Outs show, the Picasso doesn't FEEL so jam-packed even when it is, in fact, crowded with people–that takes up 11 galleries on the museum's fourth floor and is arranged in rough chronological order.  


What To See At Picasso's Sculputre

There was so much at Picasso: Sculpture that was completely new to me, and it's all interesting and great fun to look at, but a few personal highlights would include the Marie-Thérèse Walter room, filled with white plaster busts (top) of one the artist's many muses in his life–in this case, one who also became the mother of his daughter Maya; the odd, trippy ceramics, especially the beetle-looking character (above) who looks like he stepped out of Peter Max cartoon (note: Picasso's came first); the sheet metal gallery, with great light streaming in from the windows overlooking MoMA's sculpture garden; and his playful pair of painted wooden female figures with their excellent dresses. Really, though, the whole exhibition is spectacular. I walked through twice, and plan on returning at some point later in the season. Shows like this only come around every once in a great while, and only to cities as great as ours.


For More Information abotu Picaso: Sculpture at MoMA

Picasso: Sculpture will be at the Museum of Modern Art through February 7. MoMA is located between 5th and 6th Avenues with entrances at both 53rd and 54th Streets and is open daily from 10:30 until 5:30, except for Friday when it's open until 8:00.


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