Last week I was lucky enough to attend the press preview for the Art Gallery of Ontario’s new blockbuster exhibition, Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris. Culled from the artist’s own collection, this is the largest Picasso retrospective ever mounted in Canada.
There were lots of amazing paintings and sculptures among the 150 works on display although I have to say I found the show just a tad disappointing; the rooms felt dark and there was precious little text accompanying the work. What’s more, only a couple of paintings in each room had audio descriptions and those were more perplexing than enlightening. I don’t want to dissuade you from attending; the show is worthwhile, just keep your expectations in check.
One of the works that delighted me was Picasso’s cunningly simple sculpture of a bull’s head made from a bicycle seat and handle bars: the piece speaks to the current craze for taxidermy trophies with a welcome measure of humour.
As usual, I took special interest in the post-show gift shop and I was flabbergasted by the inexplicable selection of faux Parisian tchotchkes and assorted kitchen clutter, most of which had nothing, and I mean NOTHING to do with Picasso.
Yes, there were glasses, mugs and snack plates adorned with the master’s whimsical line drawings but generic candles, soaps and pillows? It felt like a Homesense tribute to Paris. Very weird.