Tell me: have you always had, as I have, a sneaking suspicion that maybe, just maybe, most Picasso’s were little more than a bunch of junk?
Here’s something: The painting below sold for more than $179 million last year.
Women of Algiers – Picasso
Yes, I agree with all the usual comments: My 5-year old could have done that; I could have done that; a monkey could have done that(1).
So, what on earth would have possessed someone to spend a fortune on it? Who knows?
Here’s one of the most famous and “valuable” paintings on earth:
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon – Picasso
You’re excused if you don’t see the “value,” as I don’t.
But, wait! Below is what someone said about the above painting (here). I’ve added a few comments in red.
This artistic painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) was created by the popularly renowned artist Pablo Picasso in the early 1900s. This painting has binary oppositions that are defined as opposites that such as true and false. [Note: Huh?] The binary oppositions found within the painting are that there are five females that are prostitutes that are spilt in two, with three of them being elegant whereas the other two have been given African masks that symbolise being contaminated with diseases. [Note: Double huh? Immediately the commentator has said of the painting: “It has meaning, but only meaning that a very few would understand, recognize and appreciate.” Specifically those who have studied (1) African masks that “symbolize being contaminated with diseases.”] The meaning behind these masks is they symbolise the diseases that prostitutes would have such as syphilis. [Note: More esoteric(2) hoo-hah] The mask-like faces of the women on the right show the culture of Africa, and it gives the other women on the left, which are opinionated, as European, a good reputation as they are not symbolised with diseases. And this gives the painting a park of racism as the African masked women have ‘diseases’ and the European women don’t have diseases. [Note: Whoa! Now, there’s a stretch! However, Picasso was a well-known leftist, and racism — particularly anti-black racism — is the hallmark of the political left, so it’s entirely possible that it’s true. However, let’s face it, if you are a normal person, who hasn’t studied all this extremely focused stuff and you were to go visit the museum housing this painting, you would thing — this is a pile of manure, and a waste of perfectly good paint.] An additional binary opposition of the women within the painting would be that one of the women wearing the masks, is lower than the others, this could symbolise that when suffering diseases, they would feel lower than everyone else. [Note: Or… that the composition of the work suggested that the one “woman” sit lower than the other, or that she is shorter, or one of a million other explanations. Again, it’s possible that the commentator is correct here, but it’s also possible that this is all just a bunch of coprolite. You get the point… this is a bunch of hooey, and meaningless, and moronic, and pretentious, and … mindless. But, it’s probably “A” material for college. Read the rest of this silliness, and see whether you agree or disagree. I’ll back off a bit on the commentary.] And to separate the women that are either wearing the African masks or not, they are on either the left or the right. The women are not wearing the masks are positioned on the left of the painting, and the women with the masks, are on the right. This also shows that they are opposites with wearing masks or not. The colour of the women’s skins being different colours is binary opposites that are black and white. The women that are wearing the masks have a dark skin colour, and however the women that are on the left have light skin colour. Also, the women that are not wearing the masks are clean and beautiful and however, the women that have the masks to show diseases are impure. And this shows the opposites of being spotless and unhygienic. The orientalism within this painting is discovered, as there is the use of African masks. And orientalism is the use of different cultures within art. ‘That these white women might be […transformed] is a cause for terror […] because mongrels are viewed as impure, degenerate, and corrupting’ (Chave, A.C 1994 p.604) [Note: Whoa! There are others who think this way too!?!] This quote states that the women wearing the masks have been transformed from looking pretty, to looking horrible with the masks. Abjection would be defined in art as the system within in a painting being changed and as Kristeva states ‘desire turns aside; sickened’ (Kristeva, 1982 p10) as it is discovered within this painting is message behind the masks which is that the prostitutes’ faces are disfigured due to the disease known as syphilis and the African masks are used to represent this.
Ouch! That’s just awful stuff. First, it’s barely literate. Second, it’s gibberish. In other words, it’s probably absolutely wonderful commentary on the painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.
Look don’t get me wrong. I love art. I’m a painter by hobby, and I’ve done many paintings, some that have even been called “museum quality” and “great” and “haunting,” (the second one, below) and other flattering adjectives. I have more than a little knowledge of art.
Here’s one of mine — an artist’s pencil on paper:
Here’s another — a black and white oil painting:
I have studied this stuff more than a little. I consider these two to be completely mediocre, though some have charitably called them significantly better things than that. I’ve received offers for a lot of money for them (though I wonder whether that’s really because I’m actually pretty famous.). But here’s the point: I’m not an artist (at least not a visual artist. I’m a thumpin’ good guitarist! 🙂 ).
The other point: there’s often a lot in “art,” and in the value that people attach to “art,” that has nothing whatsoever to do with … art.
Picasso? Bunch of junk, frankly. And, frankly, you couldn’t pay me to hang a one of ’em in any of my houses. More to the point: if I were to buy one, I’d feel as though I’d been ripped off, and if I were then to sell it, I’d feel as though I was ripping someone else off.
(1) Or: my dog could have done that. Imagine: coat your friendly, neighborhood, shaggy dog with watercolors, put him on a massive canvas, and voilà! A Jackson Pollock!
Here’s a priceless piece of commentary from the above linked graphic:
But the exhibit focuses mostly on a series done in 1951, when Pollock painted only in black.
“On some levels you might say it kind of looks like a doodle,” [Note: Ya think?!? 🙂 ] said Braver.
“It’s doodle-y,” said Delahunty, “because he’s still thinking it through, ‘Can I make paintings exclusively using black on raw cotton substrate that can maintain the tightness and excitement of my classic paintings?’ And this is the moment that the penny drops.”
But the events surrounding that moment comprise a tale of triumph and tragedy.
My dog could do it.
(2) Simple Definition of esoteric
: only taught to or understood by members of a special group : hard to understand
: limited to a small number of people