Picasso: Themes and Variations is on view at MOMA through August 30, 2010.
Featuring approximately one hundred works, this exhibition explores Picasso’s creative process through the medium of printmaking, tracing his development from the early years of the twentieth century, with depictions of itinerant circus performers in the Blue and Rose periods, to his discovery of Cubism. It follows his evolving artistic vision through decades of experimentation in etching, lithography, and linoleum cut, demonstrating how each technique inspired new directions in his work. The exhibition focuses on specific themes, showing how Picasso’s imagery went through a constant process of metamorphosis. Printmaking, in particular, allows this fundamental aspect of his art to become vividly clear, since various stages in building a composition can be documented. One series of lithographs shows Picasso progressing, step-by-step, from a realistic depiction of a bull to one that is completely abstracted into schematic lines. Other series reveal changing interpretations of the women in Picasso’s life, as they become the subject of his art and a catalytic force behind his creativity.
The exhibit has a superb web component, which is especially effective for its exploration of print techniques. Picasso’s themes, as you’d imagine, are well covered too. Visit the site here.