Les Demoiselles dAvignon – Pablo Picasso [updated]
Although it was only built last year, Frank Gehry’s fractured ‘Serpentine Gallery’ posted here at NOT PC the other day is part of the mainstream of twentieth-century western art – architecture just took a few more decades to really catch up.
“Twentieth-century art,” explains Stephen Hicks, “is Pablo Picasso's fractured world populated by vacant-eyed, disjointed beings. It is Edward Hopper's emotionally out-of-tune men and women in bland, worn settings. It is the predatory horror of Willem de Kooning's Woman series. It is Salvador Dali's surreal world in which the distinction between subjective dream states and objective reality is obliterated. It is Andy Warhol's smirking trivialization and mechanical reproductions. It is a reality that is captured presciently in Edvard Munch's The Scream, the horror of being a cypher in a world of hideously swirling near-formless forms.
The twentieth-century world is also the story of its own self-elimination.”
This was an entirely conscious intention. Sayeth the ‘great man’ himself:
"Most people can today no longer expect to receive consolation from art. The refined, the rich, the distillers of quintessence (art critics) desire only the peculiar, the eccentric, the scandalous in today's art. And I myself, since the advent of cubism, have fed these fellows what they wanted, and satisfied these critics with all the ridiculous ideas that have passed through my head. The less they understood them, the more they admired me. Through amusing myself with all these absurd farces, I became celebrated...but when I am alone, I do not have the effrontery to consider myself an artist at all, not in the grand old meaning of the word. Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt and Goya, they were great painters. I am only a public clown. I have understood my time and have exploited the imbecility, the vanity, the greed of my contemporaries. It is a bitter confession of mine - more painful than it may seem. But at least and at last, it does have the merit of being honest."
--Pablo Picasso, November1951