You have to poke out the eyes of painters like you do with songbirds, to make them sing better. – Picasso
The Beaubourg advertises its current exposition of cubist artworks as the most comprehensive show of its kind in Paris since 1953. How time flies. Well, I had to see this, so I bought some tix and went with my inlaws, who were in town. First things first: we had to eat. And drink, which we did sitting in the restaurant on the top of the museum – up, is it six or seven stories? In New York City, this would be nothing – we’d be face to face with the back of some mirror windowed business headquarters – but in Paris this gives you quite a view. I could see, a long way off, the Eiffel Tower, rather wobbly in a cloud. The day was misty and drizzly. To the left arose one of my favorite fragments of old Paris, the Tour Saint-Jacques, and beyond that, a little more in the headtwisting direction, Notre Dame. The buildings below us extended in yellow squares and rectangles – very, as it were, cubist. There was a famous exchange between Picasso and Gertrude Stein over Picasso’s portrait of her. Stein pointed out that the portrait didn’t look a thing like here, and Picasso said, it will. Picasso had a strong faith that life bends towards art – and he could see the proof of it all around him the streets of Paris. Life, that thing we have taken from the country, is more like the raw material of art than its opposite. This is a theory that reverses the whole romantic pastoral. That reversal was just one of many brought about by the cultural explosions of the first twenty years of the twentieth century.
See the rest at Willett's