The Art Institute's museum-wide celebration of Picasso is certainly anchored by Picasso and Chicago, but you'll find evidence of the artist in almost every corner of the museum. No fewer than nine curatorial departments have explored Picasso's wide-ranging artistic interests and influences, with some being more familiar than others.
For example, Picasso's affinity for African art is well documented. Paintings like LesDemoiselles D'Avignon (which is not in the exhibition) clearly illustrate how he took inspiration from African masks. In fact, Picasso was an avid—and early—collector of African art. The presentation in our African galleries includes pieces that would have been comparable to works once owned by Picasso. At the time of his death, Picasso had collected some 100 African objects, of which nearly one third were masks from present-day Mali. Many of these Malian masks, including the Art Institute's mask above, depict human-animal hybridity and metamorphosis, themes often explored by Picasso in his work.
Similarly, the museum's Ancient Art department has also taken a look at another of Picasso's influences, although this one is arguably less well-known. In his quest for a modern aesthetic, Picasso looked back in history to the art of the ancient Mediterranean. He studied Greek antiquities at the Louvre, including Cycladic sculptures and Greek vases painted int he black-figure technique. Mythological figures from these pieces appear in works throughout his career. In particular, satyrs—half-man, half-horse creatures driven by insatiable appetites for food, sex, and wine—appear on both ancient Greek vessels and in Picasso's work. In the Art Institute's storage jar, horse-eared satyrs appear on the neck, suggesting that it may once have contained undiluted wine.
Image Credits: Mask for Ntomo. Late 19th/early 20th century. Segou region of Mali. African and Amerindian Art Purchase Fund.
Amphora (Storage Jar). c. 520 B.C. Greek, Athens. Close to the style of the Antimenes Painter. Costa A. Pandaleon Endowment.
12 hours 25 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago COMING SOON—Provoke: Photography in Japan between Protest and Performance, 1960–75
The short-lived Tokyo magazine Provoke is now recognized as a major achievement in world photography of the last 50 years. A major international traveling show, which has Chicago as its only North American venue, this exhibition is the first survey of postwar Japanese art to be organized at the Art Institute and draws heavily on the the museum’s collection—more than 60% of the over 200 items on display belong to the Art Institute.
OPENING JANUARY 28—http://bit.ly/2jMlnUx
15 hours 37 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW ON VIEW—The Italian–born American artist Josef Stella revisited his native Italy in 1922, where he became fascinated by Renaissance painting. Drawing inspiration from Sandro Botticelli, Stella began to produce decorative, detailed, symbolic compositions, such as A Vision (seen here). Stella was enthralled by the tropical plants he observed at the Bronx Botanical Garden in New York, and he imagined an iconic woman growing out of the earth like the towering flowers on either side of her.
The French–born American artist Gaston Lachaise found his own iconic inspiration for the sculpture, Woman (Elevation), in Isabel Dutaud Nagle, whom he later married, telling her, “I want to create a miracle with it… as great as you.” This sculpture represents Lachaise’s first full-scale expression of the idealized female form that would come to dominate his art. Modernists like Lachaise believed preclassical art possessed a primitive vitality absent from later art forms.
See Josef Stella’s A Vision (1925/26) and Gaston Lachaise’s Woman (Elevation) (1912–15; cast 1927)—on view in Gallery 271.
1 day 11 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Rodney McMillian: a great society
Our latest exhibition in the Modern Wing represents the last decade of the artist’s work in video. Grappling with the complexities of class, race, and place in America, Rodney McMillian employs elements of performance, public speaking, oral history—and his interest in the science fiction genre—to expose the social and psychological consequences of economic inequality, endemic racism, and the failed promise of freedom and prosperity for all of its citizens. While McMillian's work engages the often stark realities of history and contemporary culture, it is motivated by the potential for alternative realities and future transformation.
See Rodney McMillian: a great society on view in the Modern Wing through March 26.