Picasso and American Art
, a landmark exhibition organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, will be presented June 16–September 9 at the Walker Art Center, the first U.S. venue to host masterworks from Pablo Picasso’s private collection in 1980. Picasso and American Art examines the fundamental role that Picasso played in the development of American art over the past century by juxtaposing his work with that of groundbreaking American artists who were inspired or influenced by his example. The exhibition features nearly 30 works by Picasso as well as a wide-ranging display of works by nine American artists: Max Weber, Stuart Davis, Arshile Gorky, John Graham, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jasper Johns. Each will be represented by approximately 10 artworks spanning their careers. In addition, works by Marsden Hartley, Man Ray, Louise Bourgeois, Jan Matulka, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol, and Claes Oldenburg, among others, will be on view. The selection of American artists was determined in part by the decision to focus only on artists who addressed Picasso’s art before his death in 1973. Picasso and American Art is curated by Michael FitzGerald, Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Trinity College, Connecticut, in association with Dana Miller, Associate Curator at the Whitney. The exhibition’s opening-weekend celebration features a Walker After Hours preview party on Friday, June 15, and an opening-day lecture by FitzGerald on Saturday, June 16. (A complete listing of related programs follows.)
Although Picasso never set foot in America, many of this country’s most important artists saw him as the central figure of modern art and defined their own achievements through their assimilation or refutation of his example. “The intense involvement of American artists with Picasso’s work was at the center of a fundamental transformation in American art during the 20th century,” said FitzGerald. Picasso and American Art places artworks by Picasso near related ones by Americans in order to allow visitors to see how artists here absorbed, critiqued, or occasionally rejected Picasso’s example as they created their own significant contributions to modern art.
The majority of the approximately 140 objects in the Walker’s presentation of the exhibition will be paintings and drawings. A small number of sculptures also will be featured. Among the Picasso works on view will be two from the Walker’s collection and two on loan from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Works in Picasso and American Art that have never before been exhibited publicly in this country include Picasso’s Still Life (1908), Louise Bourgeois’ Untitled (1940) and Untitled (1941), Jasper Johns’ painting After Picasso (1998), as well as several drawings and studies that Johns is lending. Many of the essential Picassos are coming from foreign collections and will give U.S. audiences exposure to significant works that have not been seen in this country for decades. Among these are Picasso’s Bar-Table with Musical Instruments and Fruit Bowl (c. 1913), Still Life with Bunch of Grapes (1914), and Minotaur Moving (1936).
A few of the artworks by Picasso that are coming from overseas for the exhibition may be familiar to those who attended the Walker’s 1980 exhibition Picasso from the Musée Picasso, Paris, in which these works traveled to the United States for the first time. The popular exhibition consisted of over 150 artworks given by the Picasso estate to the French government in lieu of death duties. After leaving the Walker, many of the pieces were shown in New York City as part of Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Works such as Head of Fernande (1909), Figure (1928), and The Shadow (1953) were featured in the 1980 exhibition.
A 400-page catalogue, co-published with Yale University Press, accompanies the exhibition. It includes a scholarly monograph by FitzGerald and approximately 300 illustrations as well as a thorough chronology that documents the accessibility of Picasso’s work in the United States through exhibitions, collections, and publications. Based on extensive research, the catalogue provides valuable new insights into the ways that Picasso’s art affected generations of American artists and the ways in which America helped shape Picasso’s reputation. Hardcover: $65 ($58.50 Walker members); softcover: $50 ($45).
Art on Call
Callers dialing 612.374.8200 any time day or night, inside or outside the Walker can access interviews with the exhibition curators as well as leading scholars of Picasso, David Smith, Jackson Pollock, and Jasper Johns. Information that’s accessed via Art on Call is also available to the public through the Walker’s Web site (newmedia.walkerart.org/aoc) as well as in Podcast versions which can be downloaded to an iPod or other MP3 player.
Walker After Hours Celebrates Picasso
Friday, June 15, 9 pm–12 midnight
Advance tickets: $30 ($15 Walker members)
At the door: $35 ($20)
Save $1 per ticket when ordering online at walkerart.org/tickets.
New members receive one free ticket.
Known as the father of modern art, Pablo Picasso influenced generations of artists in the United States—without ever setting foot here. Imagine what he can do for a party. Join us in celebrating the opening of the exhibition at this special Walker After Hours. Featuring music by Digitata, cocktails, appetizers, a film screening, art activities, Pablo’s Party People Pictures, and a Target Lounge on the terraces, this evening is a masterpiece you won’t want to miss.
Walker After Hours sponsored by Target.
Opening-Day Gallery Lecture
Saturday, June 16, 2 pm
$10 ($8 Walker members)
“Young painters should take up our researches in order to react clearly against us—the whole word is open before us, everything waiting to be done, not just redone.” —Pablo Picasso, 1935
Picasso’s influence on American artistic production is one of the fundamental stories of art in the 20th century. He stimulated generations of practitioners to create innovative new work, under the sometimes anxious influence of an artist they perceived as a “master.” These contributions also include the development of institutions that supported new thinking about contemporary art. Michael FitzGerald, curator of Picasso and American Art and professor of art history at Trinity College, speaks about his extensive research on this topic and the process of selecting works for the exhibition.
The Mack Lecture Series is made possible by Aaron and Carol Mack.
Target Free Thursday Nights
Thursday, June 21
Lecture: Why is Picasso Famous? Art, Celebrity, and Becoming a Fan
Cinema, 7 pm
Free tickets available at the Bazinet Garden Lobby desk from 6 pm
Was Picasso a genius, a self-promoter, a media icon, a product of the museum system, or all of the above? Each role brings to light different assumptions about ways that art, celebrity, and fandom connect, including the relationships between the “master” artist and the painters he inspired. Joli Jensen, scholar of American cultural and social thought at the University of Tulsa, explores evidence for each of these options. Jensen’s teaching interests are in media, culture, and society. Her most recent book, Is Art Good for Us? Beliefs about High Culture in American Life (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002) questions our taken-for-granted assumptions about the transformational power of high culture. Her previous books analyze media criticism (Redeeming Modernity: Contradictions in Media Criticism) and explore how and why cultural genres change, in relation to concerns about culture and commerce (The Nashville Sound: Authenticity, Commercialization and Country Music). She has also written a number of essays on media criticism, communication technologies, communication theories, the social history of the typewriter, country music, and fans and fandom.
Thursdays, July 12 and 19
PostPicasso—A Redo Art Activity
Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab, 6–9 pm
Artists throughout time have shared ideas and influenced one another’s work. A historic display of this tendency is seen in Picasso and American Art, which showcases how the great American modernists adopted and adjusted Picasso’s ideas. For this activity, use traditional tools of expression (painting, drawing, sculpture) to create post-modern appropriations of Picasso’s work and other pieces in the Walker’s collection.
Target Free Thursday Nights sponsored by Target.
Additional support provided by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.
Summer’s Cool Classes for Kids
Paint Like Picasso
For ages 6–8
Monday–Friday, June 25–29, 9 am–12 noon
Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab
You’ll be a modern master after this weeklong series of activities inspired by the exhibition. Practice the collage and painting techniques of Pablo Picasso and learn about his stylistic range and influence on other American artists. Painting smocks provided, but kids are encouraged to dress for a mess. Led by artist-instructor Jennifer Nevitt. To register, visit walkerart.org/tickets or call 612.375.7600. Members receive a 25% discount on class fees.
Raising Creative Kids
Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate
For kids ages 2–5 and adults
Tuesdays, July 8 and 22; August 12 and 26
11 am–1 pm, Free with gallery admission
Members and children are always free
Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate features activities for parents and caregivers with youngsters ages 2–5. Join us on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month for art projects, films, gallery activities, and story readings. Meet other families for a treat at Wolfgang Puck’s Coffee Cart or lunch at Gallery 8 Café.
“The most pleasurable thing in the world, for me, is to see something and then translate how I see it.” —Artist Ellsworth Kelly
Develop your child’s concrete and abstract thinking skills as you wander together through the galleries and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in search of people, places, and things. Discover ways that everyday objects are transformed by contemporary artists. Venture into art-making with your kids and translate ordinary items into dynamic works of art, listen to stimulating stories, and watch films that will arouse the eyes and mind.
All tours free with gallery admission; Free First Saturday and Thursday night tours are free.
Saturday, June 16
Thursday, June 21
Sunday, June 24
Thursday, June 28
Friday, June 29
Sunday, July 1
Friday, July 6
Friday, July 13
Thursday, July 19
Saturday, July 21
Thursday, July 26
Friday, July 27
Sunday, July 29
Thursday, August 2
Thursday, August 9
Friday, August 10
Thursday, August 16
Sunday, August 19
Sunday, August 26
Thursday, August 30
Effective June 16–September 9: $10 adults; $8 seniors (65+); $6 students/teens (with ID)