picasso's suite 347 at the bass
Post #337 • August 3, 2004, 6:40 AM • 3 Comments
I saw the Picasso Suite 347 show at the Bass. My thoughts:
The best ones were the most Steinbergian: playful, wild-eyed, sexy, warped.
I sure hope I'm still kickin' it with the girls when I'm 87.
The hanging was insane. I'm not kidding - they had one of the interior walls hung edge to edge in a 5 x 7 grid with works framed two feet square apiece. Forget salon style - this was sardine style. Somebody boo-boo'd big time regarding the gallery capacity.
All of the prints were signed identically, "Artist Proof" (the French escapes me: preuve d'artiste?) on the lower left, "Picasso" on the right. None are signed on the plate. The edition went for 50 prints with 17 artist proofs. 67 times 347 equals 23,249 prints. I don't doubt that the original work was done by the master, but there's no way he did his own printing, and I think it's weird that not a single one of the 347 prints on display were a part of the original run of 50. I can't help but think that some kind of Dalíesque cashing in on the man's good name happened at the end of his life. I have no proof that such a thing occurred; it just smells a little funny.
The work is uneven, but he was Picasso, after all, and a lot of them are pretty wonderful: erotic circuses, coital takes on Rafael and his mistress under the smiling gaze of a Pope on the potty, satyrs with cubistically exaggerated phalluses, twisty female nudes with their perinea turned up for the viewer's consumption. They are rendered with a sure and mirthful line. The show is overhung out the wazoo and the whole exercise is just slightly suspect, but it's worth a visit to see the master take his fecund energies out for a final run.