See Pure Picasso at the Guggenheim

by Tracy Kaler

Pablo PicassoHead of a Woman, Right Profile (Marie-Thérèse) (Tête de femme, profil droit [Marie-Thérèse]),BoisgeloupJuly 19, 1934Oil and charcoal on canvas, 64.8 x 49.5 cm. Collection of Aaron I. Fleischman. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

Maybe you have yet to come up with your New Year's resolution for 2013. Perhaps it is to eat healthier, read more and watch less television, or to attend more cultural events, especially if you live in or near New York City --- a mecca of art and creativity. I can tell you, if it is the latter, you need to get to 89th and Fifth Avenue before it is too late, or at least before January 23. You have just a few weeks left to see "Picasso Black and White" at the Guggenheim. If you have not made it there yet, include this in your January bucket list, just in case that apocalypse is running later than predicted.

Speaking of later, you may think that I am tardy in writing this post about an exhibit that began in October. By now though, hopefully, crowds have thinned, lines have shortened and you will be able to lose yourself in exactly what this exhibit is --- some of the best of Picasso's creations spanning 1904 to 1971.

My husband and I went early on --- I knew the holiday season would get ultra busy and I wanted to avoid being left out in the cold come January. We did the "Pay what you wish"(beginning at 5:45pm on Saturdays) since we had recently visited the museum and were primarily interested in the Picasso pieces. We were not disappointed.

Pablo PicassoThe Milliner’s Workshop (Atelier de la modiste), Rue La Boétie, ParisJanuary 1926Oil on canvas, 172 x 256 cm. Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Gift of the artist, 1947. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: © CNAC/MNAM/Dist. Réunion des Musées Nationaux/Art Resource, NY

The Guggenheim is the perfect backdrop for the artist's exaggerated shapes and forms in black, white and gray. There is something about the design of this structure itself that I find mesmerizing and inspiring, that even the most mundane works appear exciting and artlike. But these pieces are pure Picasso --- spectacular and artful, and would be in any setting beyond the walls of the Guggenheim. Some of this soul-stirring art is like no other that I have ever seen from the modern master.

The Picasso exhibit includes paintings, sculptures, and of course, works on paper --- the source from which many masterpieces evolve, and one step beyond any artist's imagination. Other works explore Cubism and are very typical "Picasso," while even others are early works from his collection, yet shockingly new to the audience. Of the almost 120 in this showing, 38 have never been viewed in the US before, and five have never been viewed anywhere.

Picasso Black and White runs through January 23, 2013 at the Guggenheim.

Pablo PicassoSeated Nude (Nu assis), Winter 1922–23Oil and charcoal on canvas, 130 x 97 cm. Abelló Collection, Madrid. © 2012 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Joaquín Cortés

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