What strikes me about Picasso’s sculptures at MOMA New York is exactly what strikes me about his paintings–the joy, energy, exuberance, humour, experimentation, and endless reinvention. He never stood still. He always seems relaxed and spontaneous in his paintings and drawings, but it’s even more so with his sculptures. These he did primarily for himself, and he lived among them in his studios.
He used every kind of material, bronze, clay, wood, sheet metal, stone, ceramics, found objects, and he produced sculptures that resembled the primitive, the classical, and the modern–but they all have his stamp. Many of them you’d recognise straight away as Picasso because they resemble his paintings, the cocks, jesters, cubist designs, and fecund women.
Some grabbed me especially. The seven foot tall man carrying a lamb he sculpted in one day in clay. It was then cast in bronze, but you can see that the clay only just clinging on. A wooden woman looks African. His “drawings in space” for Apollinaire’s tomb, all of which were rejected. His six absinthe glasses, all painted differently. The six large figures made from driftwood. The bull’s head, which is made from a bicycle sandal and handlebars. The pregnant goat, although not obsessively realistic, could have run out of the exhibition. Equally alive were the cat and the monkey carrying her baby. There’s were many cocks, none of them realistic but all of them alive and funny.
And women, lots of women. Some of them massive, all of them desirable. Picasso loved women.