Thursday, August 26, 2010
The branch of the Gagosian in London, near King's Cross, currently has an exhibition of lateish Picasso, of works from 1945-62. It is, so far as I could see, almost unbelievably bad, not in the sense that it's poorly hung or curated, but in the sense that the vast majority of the work in it lacks any obvious redeeming quality. There are some nicely bold posters, a couple of the characteristic sketches of bulls pared down to essential, pure lines, and a few entertaining ceramics, but the majority of the work is paintings, and terrible paintings. They're muddy, lazily uncomposed, faux naive, as if experiments in how far a reputation'll take you, without purpose even in their purposelessness. There's nothing disconcerting or arresting about them, they're just ugly and placid, the colours mutedly uncomplementary, without either coherence or contradiction, the lines slapdash, unalive, just left lying there. It's been reviewed as showing an intimate, domestic side to Picasso: if that grey formlessness was his domestic life, God help him.