Friday, November 24, 2017

Flashback Friday: Picasso's Guernica Revisited

Steve Martin, in his autobiography Born Standing Up, describes the impression he received during his first visit to the Museum of Modern Art (affectionately referred to as the MoMA) as he came face to face with Picasso's Guernica. It stuns, and stops you in your tracks. When you see this painting reproduced in books it's difficult to comprehend its massive scale and the powerful effect it produces. Martin then rounds a corner and there finds himself awed by this miniature Dali, equally famous, The Persistence of Memory. It's an experience unforgettable.

Both of these share a prominent positions on many lists of the most significant paintings of the 20th century, Guernica topping the list and Dali's delicately rendered dreamscape third. (Duchamp's earth-shaking Nude Descending A Staircase, second but no second fiddlehangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.)

The MoMA has as many as 300 Picassos, but Guernica's the one that makes your hair stand on end. The painting was brought to mind by an article earlier this week in the ArtDaily about a newly released documents and research about the famous painting.

Those familiar with the story recall that Guernica was painted in response to the bombing of a Basque town on April 26, 1937 by German and Italian air forces under the orders of future Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. The horror was committed not against an army but against a village. Hundreds died, a foreshadowing of the bombings that would later occur in World War II by both the Allied and Axis powers.

That same year Picasso had been commissioned to produce a painting for the 1937 World's Fair in France. Before the bombing he was having the equivalent of writers block. The horror of the bombing ignited Picasso's imagination and this monumental work was the result.

The online exhibit Rethinking Guernica is an extensive exploration of the history of the painting, its influence, its role as a political symbol, its influence, the controversies it generated and Picasso's own perspective on the painting. If you don't have time to check it out today, take a minute to visit the page and bookmark it.

Small Business Saturday

Mandala with Southwestern Influence, Terry Millikan
Artists and authors are small businesses. Before you spend all your Christmas shopping money on Black Friday, be sure to save a little for small bookstores like Zenith (Central Avenue) across the parking lot from Beaners. There are numerous local art venues clustered here and there, including SiVi's, Art Dock and Northern Waters within walking distance of one another in Canal Park.

In Downtown Duluth, we have Lake Superior Art Glass, Art in the Alley, Zeitgeist, the new Ryan Tischer Gallery and Lizzards within walking distance of one another. If you park nearby and do your walkabout Saturday afternoon, you can catch the Terry Millikan art opening titled Meditations at Lizzards from 1-4 p.m. at 11 Superior Street W.

All Creative Work Involves Decisions
Guernica in 3-D

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Get into it. 

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