Photo of the Week

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Bicycles in a Parisian courtyard. © Paris Update

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris.

Stick up for science
> The Paris March for Science begins at 1pm at the Jardin des Plantes (Place Valhubert), April 22.

Silent films from Switzerland?
> They’re rare, but they do exist and can be seen at the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, Paris, April 20-May 2.

Voices from the North
> The Pølar Festival celebrates Northern European culture with films, concerts, talks and more. Various locations, Paris, April 19-29.

Photo walk
> Eight Paris galleries hold special photography shows and events for Parcours Fotofever. Various locations, Paris, through May 1.

Photo shows galore
> Le Mois de la Photo has been moved from autumn to spring, with 96 exhibitions taking place all over the greater Paris area. See Web site for locations and dates.

Art videos
> The theme of this year’s Videobox Festival is “noise and movement.” Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 27-29.

Take home a winemaker
> Winemakers from Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux come to Paris to offer tastings of their products in wine bars and private homes for the event J’Irai Déguster chez Vous. Various venues, Paris, April 20-22.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Nicolas Bedos’s Monsieur & Madame Adelman preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, April 21.

Polaroid pix
> The “Expolaroid” exhibition features Polaroid images by nine artists. La Maison des Ensembles, Paris, through April 25.

Binge-watching
> Festival Séries Mania shows TV series from around the world and holds debates, conferences and special guests like Julianna Margulies of “The Good Wife,” all for free. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 23.

Travel yarns
> Travel fanatics get together at the Paris Travelers Festival to swap tales of their adventures. FIAP, Paris, April 22-23.

Street art indoors

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The gallery Art in the Game will be showing works by Felipe Pantone at the Urban Art Fair.> Some 30 galleries show street art at the Urban Art Fair. Carreau du Temple, Paris, April 20-23.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.

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Art - Temporary Exhibitions

 

Picasso Mania

‘Sortoffabulous’
White Male Painter

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“Picasso” (2000), by Chéri Samba. © Chéri Samba

Overheard at the exhibition “Picasso Mania” at the Grand Palais: American man to American woman as he points to an erotic etching: “Do you recognize this?” Woman (looking bored): “No.” Man: “It’s on your breakfast plate every morning.”

The extent of Picasso’s influence – right down to the American breakfast table – is the subject of this entertaining exhibition full of works by other artists he inspired, along with some of his own.

The curators had a great idea for the first room of the exhibition: a large screen with a mosaic of video portraits of artists from around the

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© Rmn-Grand Palais/Photo Didier Plowy, Paris 2015world. One by one they come to life and briefly explain what Picasso meant to them. Many say that he gave them permission to be themselves and go their own way. The best quote is from Ed Ruscha, who describes Picasso as “Sortoffabulous,” all in one word.

Seeing how different artists reacted to Picasso is great fun. Many made the man himself the center of their work. Chéri Samba satirizes Robert Doisneau’s famous photo of Picasso in his striped sailor’s jersey sitting at a table with “fingers” of bread in front of him. In Samba’s painted version (pictured at the top of this page) the fingers look more like penises in what I suppose is a nod to Picasso’s machismo. A map of Africa adorned with a mask floats in the background as reminder of the influence of African art on Picasso’s work.

Maurizio Cattelan represents the artist in

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© Rmn-Grand Palais/Photo Didier Plowy, Paristhe same striped jersey but in a bigger-than-life statue, with an enormous head and outstretched arms, in what I suppose is a nod in this case to his outsized ego.

Just as Picasso obsessively copied – in his own style, of course – the paintings of some of his predecessors, notably Velázquez’s “Las Meninas,” many of his successors have made their own versions of Picasso’s work. These take up the bulk of the show.

David Hockney worshipped at the altar of Picasso with his usual intellectual approach, always with a touch of humor. In his engraving “Artist and Model” (1973-74), the naked model is Hockney himself, sitting across a table from the master, who wears, naturally, a striped jersey.

Hockney also paid homage to Picasso with his “Cubist” technique of breaking up a scene by taking multiple Polaroids of it and then putting it back together again. Among the several Picasso-influenced works by Hockney in the show is “The Jugglers, 24 June 2012,” an installation of 18 synchronized videos paying tribute to “Parade,” the famous Ballets Russes production for which Picasso designed the costumes, set and curtains.

This exhibition, exceptional for its inclusiveness, shows the work of far more non-white, non-male, non-Western artists than we are used to seeing in blockbuster shows in major art institutions. African American

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“Les Demoiselles d'Alabama (Des Nudas)” (1985), by Robert Colescott © Robert Colescott estate/Greenville County Museum of Art

painter Robert H. Colescott (1925-2009) is represented by “Les Demoiselles d’Alabama (Des Nudas)” (1985), a wry take on Picasso’s 1907 African-inspired “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.” In Colescott’s version, some of Picasso’s pink-skinned ladies are now black, which simply seems appropriate. (The label for this painting notes that Colescott was the first African-American artist to officially represent the United States at the Venice Biennale, at the shockingly late date of 1997.)

“Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” also figures in a 1991 painting by another African-American artist, Faith Ringgold (b. 1930). In “Picasso’s Studio” (from the series “The French Collection,” part I, # 7), the artist (shirtless this

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“Picasso’s Studio” (1991), by Faith Ringgold. © Faith Ringgold © 1991/photo Worcester Art Museumtime) paints busily away at his easel, facing a wall covered with his own paintings of naked women, plus a black woman added by Ringgold.

A number of Picasso’s works are on show for comparison’s sake. Near the end of the exhibition, an entire wall of late paintings participates in a general movement to rehabilitate the reputation of Picasso’s later

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“Femme Assise sur un Banc” (1970), by Pablo Picasso. © Succession Picasso 2015/photo Rmn-Grand Palais/Gérard Blot

works, which in the past had often been dismissed by critics as not up to the artist's standards.

The list of artists represented in the show is long and impressive: Yan Pei-Ming, Paul McCarthy, Niki de Saint Phalle, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Louise Nevelson, Roy Lichtenstein and so on. And, while we may not all have Picasso’s erotic etchings on our breakfast plates, “Picasso Mania” beautifully demonstrates how his work has seeped into the collective consciousness of artists of every stripe.

Heidi Ellison

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais: 3, avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris. Métro: Champs-Elysées Clemenceau. Tel.: 01 44 13 17 17. Open Monday, Thursday and Sunday, 10am-8pm; Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10am-10pm. Closed Tuesday. Admission: €14. Through February 29, 2016. www.grandpalais.fr

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More reviews of Paris art shows.

© 2015 Paris Update