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Pablo Picasso after # MeeToo

kipari

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I've already posted on PS that I've never been a fan of Pablo Picasso. For the first time we talked about his art at school and it was mentioned that he treated women pretty badly.
After hearing this I found I didn't necessarily had to "hype" someone who was a malignant narcissistic mysoginist. People around me said I was too "uptight" not being able to see genius etc...

I got a drawing as a gift and donated it. He honestly disgusts me.


Olafur Eliasson, a contemporary artist has called out Picasso in Spain's biggest newspaper "El País" for his ways. He aptly calls him the "Harvey Weinstein of his era". Only that this behaviour was deemed acceptable at the time. His horrible doings haven't really been condemned so far - at least I found the commentary always disturbingly neutral : of his so called "muses, models and lovers" (I'd rather say victims) he

*Trigger warning *










raped Marie-Thérèse , burnt a hole into Françoise 's cheek with a gauloise cigarette , had a tragic sadomasochistic relationship with Dora Maar. Marie-Thérèse and Jacqueline commited suicide. Maya, his daughter and Marina, granddaughter, have evoked abuse. He completely neglected his wife Olga when she was in a wheelchair...
Apparently he also took away the passports of two American fangirls who visited his atelier and blackmailed them into sleeping with him... I personally call this kidnapping.


How come there's still that hype? How come this is not communicated WAY more. To me, there should be at least 50% of every single Picasso museum dedication to his wrongdoings and proceeds should go to charities.

What are your thoughts?
 

missy

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Ugh how awful. And disappointing. I was never a fan of his art and now I’m not a fan of who he was. Blech :blackeye:
Thanks for sharing the info @kipari. And I agree with you.
 

voce

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I agree with you, kipari, in thinking the museum proceeds should go to charities to ameliorate the abuse of women, and I agree with Missy that I was never personally a fan of his work and this does not incline me to like the man it his work more.
 

kenny

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What are your thoughts?
My perspective is unpopular.

I draw a line between what a person is and what they make.
Bad people can make wonderful art.
Wonderful people can make bad art.
Wonderful art does not become bad art because it was made by a bad person.
Would I support the creator by buying it while they are alive and profiting from the sale? No.

Art/music is about the art/music, not the creator.
Appreciating the art/music itself is not supporting everything about the artist.
BTW, lots of great art/music comes from people who are very messed up.

That said, I've never liked Picasso's art.
 
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Daisys and Diamonds

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Not that i really like his style i feel this is as bad a revaluation as Rolf Harris

Picasso obviously in a different league artistically but i find it all pretty sad and shocking

I have heard of museums who don't know what to do Rolf's art now - he was certainly very tallented
 

kenny

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This reminds me of the controversial stigma attached to Richard Wagner's music.

 

JPie

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I never cared for his work. It would be great if they donated a portion of the admission fees to women's charities.
 

arkieb1

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There are a lot of artists, musicians, writers and poets (lots of writers I can think of) who were misogynists, men and for that matter women, who tortured loved ones, who slept with multiple people including children, who were and were not mentally ill and did lots of really unacceptably crazy things etc.

The list is a long one. I don't excuse their behaviour but like @kenny I can differentiate people that I don't like very much that I think were or are generally A-holes, to their work - which can be remarkable and brilliant...
 

kipari

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My perspective is unpopular.

I draw a line between what a person is and what they make.
Bad people can make wonderful art.
Wonderful people can make bad art.
Wonderful art does not become bad art because it was made by a bad person.
Would I support the creator by buying it while they are alive and profiting from the sale? No.

Art/music is about the art/music, not the creator.
Appreciating the art/music itself is not supporting everything about the artist.
BTW, lots of great art/music comes from people who are very messed up.

That said, I've never liked Picasso's art.
I understand that. But to me the context is lacking in this case specifically. There are multiple museums dedicated to this person alone.

Hi art is completely associated to "phases" and each phase drew his inspiration from a *muse" , which he used and then disposed of.
I didn't say to burn his art or anything. But I like to start with more information about the women and a clear statement regarding the monstrosity of this behind.
 

kipari

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This reminds me of the controversial stigma attached to Richard Wagner's music.

This completely different in that he already dead when Hitler was even born. He might have been a predjudiced a-hole , but not a Nazi , because they didn't even exist in his lifetime.
So context and historical accuracy are important.


ETA : in this case it's actually the other way around; the artist is blamed for something he has no control over and his place in musical history is questioned because someone else used his music post mortem.

In Picasso's case, he's excused for his personal wrongdoings by his importance for art history. Because it was acceptable for a long time to abuse and use women.
 
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kipari

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There are a lot of artists, musicians, writers and poets (lots of writers I can think of) who were misogynists, men and for that matter women, who tortured loved ones, who slept with multiple people including children, who were and were not mentally ill and did lots of really unacceptably crazy things etc.

The list is a long one. I don't excuse their behaviour but like @kenny I can differentiate people that I don't like very much that I think were or are generally A-holes, to their work - which can be remarkable and brilliant...
But I do think that today we should put this all into more context.

He's still presented as one of the biggest artists of all times and in schoolbooks they just say he had problematic relationships with women. I don't think that is right - a head count of three women total who KILLED themselves after a relationship with him and really horrible abuse this should take a much bigger place in evaluating that artist. Especially, like I wrote to Kenny above, he apparently"needed" them to produce said art. In the case of Dora Maar, who was a very talented artist herself, he overshadowed her and sabotaged her own career.
I know there have been more horrible characters out there. But there's a a museum of only him in Paris. I went once and even in the museum the women are mostly presented as the muse to the phase in his art.
In Spain there are also multiple Picasso only museums.
I think they should adapt information.
 

House Cat

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I believe a person pours themselves into their art. I have lived with a musician and watched his craft. Every bit of his heart went into his music. His art was all over our home. It was a part of him. He lived it. It was an extension of who he was. Every song lyric was a piece of his soul.

I live with a budding musician now and I see the same process beginning. His music pours out of him. He doesn’t simply play notes on an instrument. The music is an expression of his being.

I know there are some people who play music on an instrument in a generic way to only produce a song. These people would be the people that we could separate from the art.

I don’t believe Picasso was the type of artist that was just producing paintings for the money. I believe they were expressions of his heart and soul. For that reason, I can’t separate his actions from his art. He was a brutal rapist who drove women to suicide and now that I know that, for me, it will always show in his art.
 

kipari

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I believe a person pours themselves into their art. I have lived with a musician and watched his craft. Every bit of his heart went into his music. His art was all over our home. It was a part of him. He lived it. It was an extension of who he was. Every song lyric was a piece of his soul.

I live with a budding musician now and I see the same process beginning. His music pours out of him. He doesn’t simply play notes on an instrument. The music is an expression of his being.

I know there are some people who play music on an instrument in a generic way to only produce a song. These people would be the people that we could separate from the art.

I don’t believe Picasso was the type of artist that was just producing paintings for the money. I believe they were expressions of his heart and soul. For that reason, I can’t separate his actions from his art. He was a brutal rapist who drove women to suicide and now that I know that, for me, it will always show in his art.
Very well put, @housecat ! I wish you and your son all the best. It's beautiful to read about the passion for music that runs in your family!
 

luv2sparkle

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I never knew that about Picasso. I have never liked his art. I have a hard time separating art from the person.
 

doberman

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This is similar to what is currently happening with historical figures and their relationship with slavery. Is it possible to admire a person's works and deeds while abhoring their character? It's a tough question.
 

kipari

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Yes, it's always tough to re-evaluate past figures within our set of morals and law.

But I'd also like to point out that violence and rape were already illegal at the time. He got away because it was against women and he was a powerful man.

The slave holder founding fathers are in the wrong side of history now and I might argue that at the time those brilliant minds should have seen the light earlier. The anti-slavery movement did exist. But one argument in their favour might be that at least they had their contemporary law on their side.

I know I'm being repetitive, but I think in both cases their wrongdoings must be clearly communicated and take up a suitable space in the discourse about those people.
 

msop04

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I understand that. But to me the context is lacking in this case specifically. There are multiple museums dedicated to this person alone.
Are the museums dedicated to him, or to his art? And if said museums did mention his life, it would seem they were to help explain his art, or tell his history at the very least... I doubt museums were developed for the specific purpose of letting the public know his horrible actions, as his art is his claim to fame.

Of course I don't condone his acts, but I can certainly appreciate his genius... even though I'm not really a fan of his style in particular.
 

Maria D

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Arianna Huffington's Picasso: Creator and Destroyer goes into depth about his dark, terrible side and was written more than 30 years ago. (Just throwing this out here as I couldn't tell if some thought these revelations were only coming about now in the #metoo era.)

I can separate appreciation of his art from his actions in life. I do not find most of his work beautiful to look at but I do find it moving. As a junior in high school I was tasked with writing a 10 page research paper and chose "Picasso" for my topic. My English teacher said it was too broad a topic, narrow it down. I chose "Picasso's Rose Period," she said too big. I ended up writing 15 pages on one painting: "Les Demoiselles D'Avignon." The painting is not pretty to look at, I would not want a print on my wall, hell I wouldn't hang the original in my home if it were given to me. But to this day, even knowing what I now know about Picasso (that I certainly didn't know at age 16), I experience strong emotions when I look at it. Isn't that the purpose of art?

I don't agree with forcing museums to collect funds for charities. It is up to the art-viewing public to contribute (or not) to Picasso "hype" by choosing or refusing to see his work. They could choose to educate the public on his life and the lives of his muses in other ways. For example, The Portland Museum of Art (Portland Maine) recently had an exhibit entitled N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives. Next to each painting was the usual paragraph about the painting itself and how it related to the artist's body of work. But what they also included was the perspective of a Native American explaining how the depiction was not accurate and fed into stereotypes of the time. I found it to be a very powerful lesson in the history of this country's treatment of our indigenous peoples.
 

voce

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With any historical figure, the negative aspects of their lives are often just glossed over. I doubt the narrative of the man would change, because people disagree to what extent the morally reprehensible actions are related to the works or actions of the man himself.

How likely is it that an exhibit of George Washington would mention the things he led his men to do to Native Americans? Source: https://newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/archive/george-washington-letter-describes-killing-of-natives-as-villainy-PgAwRp8W2keW1wCvAe1TYw
1582053631252.png
 

kipari

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This is a good point. I can only speak for my perception, but I do find that any Picasso exhibition or the musée Picasso in Paris is always also very much about the person. About HOW he came into the specific phase of his art as a person and by means of which "Muse".

So the person is part of the whole model to sell his art. So I think they need to speak of his horrible actions as well.

Which is , btw done in length and depth at Wagner's house in Bayreuth. Which as I said has nothing to do with the person. But since many feel the art has been tainted by the Nazi's love for him, this is acknowledged and not just ignored.




Are the museums dedicated to him, or to his art? And if said museums did mention his life, it would seem they were to help explain his art, or tell his history at the very least... I doubt museums were developed for the specific purpose of letting the public know his horrible actions, as his art is his claim to fame.

Of course I don't condone his acts, but I can certainly appeciate his genius... even though I'm not really a fan of his style in particular.
 

kipari

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But what they also included was the perspective of a Native American explaining how the depiction was not accurate and fed into stereotypes of the time. I found it to be a very powerful lesson in the history of this country's treatment of our indigenous peoples.
I think this is exactly the purpose of a museum. One just doesn't hang art. The curators are highly educated specialists and they need to provide context.

I know these aren't new revelations , but Picasso is so well known and maybe most people know he " wasn't nice to his partners". Which is just not accurate. Plus in Spain he's still a national icon, so that interview I mentioned above did make waves.
 
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