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Showing posts from August, 2011

Picasso is My Rabbi

There are moments when art and religion come together perfectly. This happened to me recently, after returning from the wonderful Picasso show at the de Young Museum, all tanked up on the cubist view of the world. Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris foregrounds the autobiographical dimension of his work, which is appropriate since Picasso held onto this collection until he died, expressing as it did something essential about his vision of the world. Curator Timothy Bugard in the audio guide, describes Picasso’s understanding of art as a kind of magic, with the artist—through the hocus pocus of oil, pencil or metal—creating life out of inert objects.

Watching the Flowers of Friendship Fade

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Gertrude Stein was creative not only in her writing but also in establishing and defining her relationships. Her social circle was forever fluctuating; associations changing often with the exception of her life-time partner, Alice B. Toklas. The women enjoyed the company of artists, literati and their wives at their Saturday night salons. Wanting to establish the couple at the heart of the art movement, Gertrude transforms their relationship into a mythical status when she writes as Alice, “[N]ow I will tell you how two Americans happened to be in the heart of an art movement of which the outside world knew nothing about” (Stein 26). While their presence and contributions cannot be questioned, one can question their sensitivity. Gertrude told Ernest Hemingway that he must quit journalism to become a proper writer. This sounds a little callous coming from a woman with a trust fund. However, not having to work allowed Gertrude the freedom to write, pose, and purchase art. In doing this,…