Reexamining Picasso in the '20s, Today


There’s a moment in this interesting T.J. Clark interview about the noted art historian’s upcoming “Picasso and Truth” series at the National Gallery of Art (which starts March 22) that feels like he could be discussing works created in today’s environment rather than the mid-to-late ’20s:

“Cubism now, to me in retrospect, is like an art of a certain kind of interior space, room space, space that’s intimate and proximate and in which the world is a world of small things musical instruments, bottles, newspapers, possessable items, that is to say: Possessions. You won’t be surprised to hear that from me, as I’m someone who still certainly wishes to work within the Marxist tradition. I’m very interested in the way in which cubism commemorates and celebrates a certain kind of bourgeois intimacy. That’s under threat of course, that bourgeois world. (That is, in the early 20th-century it’s under threat.) Massively under-threat.”

Weird, right? We’ve read tons of articles in the mainstream media about how the economy is affecting the art market, but not so much about how it might be influencing actual content. Do you think we’ll see a resurgence of the Cubist aesthetic (or a contemporary reinterpretation) now that we’re facing a similar crisis? Is it already happening?

Side note: Modern Art Notes’ Tyler Green says that Clark’s lectures will be available via podcast with details TBA.