Picasso & You & Me

The “Picasso in Black and White” exhibit is spectacular.  Takes up the entire winding spiral of the museum. Saturday nights are pay-what-you-wish at the New York Guggenheim, it’s usually quite a scene, and tonight was no exception. Hard-working denizens with friends or family, care-worn artists, globetrotting turistas, middle-aged men earnestly chatting up sweet young things, first-daters, self-absorbed twenty-somethings talking loudly and hoping to be noticed–it’s like the human parade from Fellini’s “8 1/2.”  Tom Wolfe famously called art the new god and art-worship the new religion, but as is often the case he’s facile…and wrong.

We aren’t there to worship.  I watched the crowds open-eyed, absorbed by the curatorial notes, lost in the works.  I too lose myself in the life journey of this prolific artist.  Yes, I know he was often an ass. Yes, fickle in his personal life and headstrong. But to the exploration of art he submitted–to its lines and curves, flatness and volume, space and depth and memories and emotions.  We are there to commune, to be with ourselves in a certain way and be touched by someone across time, land, space.  To be reminded we are not alone. Art reminds us we are never alone, that every solo journey is undertaken by a fellow human being, its riches shared.

The guards shooed us out ten minutes past closing time.  We, the people, didn’t want to leave.  We wanted to stay, even if just a few minutes longer. We wanted something to fill us, something to take home. Something for the road.

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~ by Shirley Kwan on January 6, 2013.

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