NEW YORK, NY.-
Picasso: Guitars 19121914 will focus on Pablo Picassos cardboard and sheet-metal Guitar sculptures, and the incandescent period of material and structural innovation these sculptures bracket in the artists long career. The exhibition will be on view in The Museum of Modern Arts Special Exhibitions gallery from February 13 through June 6, 2011. Bringing together some 70 closely connected collages, constructions, drawings, mixed-media paintings, and photographs assembled from over 30 public and private collections worldwide, the exhibition situates Picassos modest yet revolutionary Guitars within his broader studio practice between 1912 and 1914. The exhibition is organized by Anne Umland, Curator, with Blair Hartzell, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art.
The exhibition takes as its point of departure Picassos first Guitar construction, a sculpture made between October and December 1912. Cobbled together from cardboard, paper, string, and wirematerials he cut, folded, threaded, and gluedPicassos silent instrument resembled no sculpture that had ever been seen before. Its creation coincided with Picassos embrace of a wide range of what were then unconventional materials, including cardboard, newspaper, wallpaper, sheet music, and sand. In 1914 the artist reiterated his fragile, papery Guitar construction in more fixed and durable sheet-metal form. In the early 1970s Picasso donated both works to The Museum of Modern Art.
Picasso: Guitars 19121914 was catalyzed by the recent rediscovery of a still-life element in MoMAs storage that once accompanied the cardboard Guitar in one of the artists well-documented but ephemeral Cubist assemblages. From this carefully composed still life, first published in November 1913, Picasso had saved both the Guitar and the semi-circular tabletop on which it had rested. Prompted by the careful study of a photograph of the 1913 assemblage by art historian Christine Poggi, the tabletop was rediscovered in MoMAs collection in 2005. To reunite the two pieces is to recognize the variable installations that were integral to the artists practice in the years before World War I, and to consider anew the distinct yet interrelated histories of two of his most iconic works. Picasso: Guitars 19121914 is the first time that cardboard Guitar will be publicly exhibited with this distinctive tabletop element.