Wednesday, December 29, 2010


The Seattle Art Museum will offer a collection of Pablo Picasso’s paintings, drawings and sculpture for a few more weeks. SAM’s curators worked with the French Musée National Picasso in Paris to include Seattle in a global tour of Pablo Picasso’s personal art collection.

Selected works were explained by art experts on an audio self-tour. I was tempted to snicker at a couple colorful paintings of circles and swirls. A lip and one eye overlaid pastel-colored “peaches” and “pears”. You will recognize my description as ignorant. I tend to prefer realism in my art.

But then I heard the expert explain Picasso’s view of reality. To paint these women Picasso asked himself, “What do I see when I am kissing a woman?”

Photographs of Pablo’s wife and lovers were displayed with his art. I looked at these beautiful women and responded smiling indulgently, “the whole person: forehead, two eyes, nose, lips, chin.” You get the picture.

But that is not reality. Kiss someone and open one eye. What do you see? What do you really see?

A writing exercise asked me to study a rock and write what I saw. When I was finished, I was given a clean sheet of paper and told to look again. Unbelievably I filled another paper.

Picasso, according to the expert, was telling me: Look at your marriage, your congregation, a friendship, yourself. What do you really see? Or do you look for what you think you should see?

Now look again.

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