Picasso’s Peak of Perfection at MoMA

Picasso’s Peak of Perfection at MoMA

You think you know everything there is to know about Picasso? Seen everything of his that there is to see? Think again.

The Museum of Modern Art’s Picasso Sculpture exhibition, on view Sept. 14 thru Feb. 7, may not change your opinion of the artist—he’s a polarizing force: You either love him or hate him—but it will open your eyes to his work in a way that perhaps has never been done before.

Take the exhibit’s title. Plain and simple, no art history or PHD thesis claptrap. You know exactly what you are going to experience. The focus is clear.

Take, too, the exhibit’s organization: chronological. Its presentation: several pieces to a room only. An extravagance of space surrounds each object, the better to walk around. There are no wall labels to distract or obfuscate. (At least there weren’t any at the press preview I attended.)

As to the objects, many have never been seen in New York. Some are playful, others hedonistic. Many bear the gruffness of a peasant’s hands, while others betray a refined feminine touch. There is the expected vulgarity and misogyny. But for every instance of brute force, there are compensatory moments of prodigious imagination, dexterity, intelligence, humor and, it must be said, beauty.

My favorite room? The last gallery containing sheet metal sculptures from 1954 to 1964.

My favorite pieces? They’re all of animals: “Head of a Dog,” 1943; “Bull,” 1958; and “Little Horse,” 1961. The dog because it’s just a ragged piece of tissue paper with cigarette burns for eyes and mouth. Genius. The bull because I’m jealous and would like to manipulate twigs and scraps of wood the way Picasso did. Creating something out of nothing. The horse because it is so childlike and begs to be wheeled about in a nursery, even though it is probably insured for a gazillion dollars.

Check out the slide show below, then head to MoMA for the blockbuster of the fall season.

The Museum of Modern Art, 11 W. 53rd St., btw Fifth & Sixth aves., 212.708.9400, www.moma.org