I went to the Picasso 1932 exhibition at Tate Modern yesterday and was going to write something about it but on the way there my attention was grabbed by a different kind of art; dear old, dreamy, enigmatic René Magritte, ripped off, recuperated, to sell yet more glossy, vacuous apartments.
Anyway, my righteous indignation had eased a little by the time I got to the power station, and the Picasso show was good, a tightly packed capsule of life and creativity. We saw the ebb and flow of his little obsessions and what prompted them – he was seriously into octopuses for a few months – and the sheer volume of fact was delightful, from the make of his car to the fact that Carl Gustav Jung, of all people, wrote a really vicious review. And yet it was still tantalising in the details it missed; we learned that Picasso skipped the opening of his first Paris retrospective to go to the cinema – I wanted to know what film.
And, of course, the whole thing was sponsored by a big accountancy firm. So, maybe capitalism won in the end and we just have to live with the big dull flats and the bad Magritte clones. But I wouldn’t want to break the news to this enigmatic figure, for whom it’s still, clearly, all about the pictures.
PS: From Hyperallergic, more about what happens when art and capitalism and gentrification coincide.