‘Picasso.mania’ exhibit explores his influence on modern artists

Pablo Picasso

A new exhibition exploring Pablo Picasso’s influence on contemporary art opens at the Grand Palais in Paris on Wednesday, bringing together more than 400 works – many of them never seen before – by 73 artists from across the world.

Celebrated as a master of modern art, Pablo Picasso’s paintings hang in galleries and museums around the world. His international renown is reflected in the new “Picasso.mania” exhibit at the Grand Palais, which will display 400 works by 75 international artists who have been influenced by his oeuvre.

The exhibition, which is variously laid out in either thematic or chronological order, examines Picasso’s impact over the decades on the work of artists like Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yan Pei-Ming and others.

Some of the pieces on display are charged with irreverence. One such work is Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s installation “Untitled (Picasso)”, which includes a giant papier mâché mask of Picasso’s head. Cattelan famously paraded around the New York Museum of Modern Art wearing the mask in 1998 in a lighthearted parody of the artist.

“It’s a way of saying that the artist is sort of like Disney mascot Mickey Mouse and New York’s iconic museum is like an attraction park,” the Pompidou Centre’s assistant director Didier Ottinger told AFP. Ottinger curated “Picasso.mania” along with Emilie Bouvard of the Picasso Museum in Paris and Picasso’s granddaughter, Diana Widmaier-Picasso.

The exhibition has also sought to show Picasso’s own work in a different light, with his paintings hung side by side, just the way the artist liked to arrange them in his studios.

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