March 17, 2022, Newnan, GA- The conflict in Ukraine brings up images of Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, at least for me. Thus today’s visit to the Picasso Immersion, at the Pullman Warehouse Exhibition Hall, in Atlanta’s Five Points area, was particularly poignant. Guernica, for the unitiated, is the large painting in the center of this montage of Picasso’s cubist works.
Picasso’s works, from 1890-1960,were largely his reaction to the horrific World Wars, Spanish Civil War and what he saw as the rise of materialism. Pablo Picasso had his own mind about the political reality of the day and would depict those he regarded as corrupt and decadent, in a monstrous manner-representing Francisco Franco, for example, as a pile of inedible food, in Guernica, itself named for a village in northern Spain that had been bombed by Franco’s forces during the Spanish Civil War.
Picasso was a varied artist, though, and was able to represent people beloved to him, in a more conventional manner. He wrote poetry as well, such as the autobiographical “A Lonely Road Is That I Walked”:
“I walk a lonely road, the one and only one I’ve ever known.
I don’t know where it goes, but I keep walking on and on.
I walked the lonely and un trodden road for I was walking on the bridge
of the broken dreams.
I don’t know what the world is fighting for or why I am being instigated.
It’s for this that I walk this lonely road for I wish to be
So I am breaking up, breaking up.
It is the lack of self control that I feared as there is something
Inside me that pulls the need to surface, consuming, confusing.
Being called Weird, I walk this lonely road for on the verge of broken dreams.
And so I walk this lonely road and so just keep walking still” – pablo picasso
Like e.e. cummings after him, Picasso created in a self-deprecating fashion. He was somewhat devoted to his children, who were the only people allowed in his studio, while he worked. From the 1920s until the end of World War II, he hobnobbed with the avant-garde, in the south of France, only occasionally returning to Spain, for short periods of time. He reacted to what he saw as crass materialism, by becoming a Communist after World War II and continuing to depict members of the economic and social elite, in unflattering ways.
Picasso has always been a source of fascination to me, although admittedly an acquired taste, and requiring of considerable pondering and rumination, as to the meaning of his surrealist work. This immersion event has whetted my appetite for exploration of other great artists of our time and of earlier eras.
There was no corned beef and cabbage for us, today. The crew gathered for St. Patrick’s Day dinner, at a Taco Max in Dunwoody, north of Atlanta, and enjoyed fairly copious amounts of guacamole-along with rather good Mexican dishes. The children have their own take on everything, much like Senor Picasso. I hope to see them reach for the stars and not suffer undue hardship. It was a rare, but most enjoyable visit with our Dunwoody family.
May art, and creativity, ever be honoured and encouraged.