Many Picasso Shows Are ‘Not Necessary,’ Says the Artist’s Son, Imploring the Musée Picasso to Reduce Its Lending

Claude Picasso says the museum is risking damage to works with little scholarly payoff.

Claude Picasso, son of the late Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Photo: BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images.

Pablo Picasso’s son Claude has criticized Paris’s Musée Picasso for excessively loaning its holdings. The works are fragile, Claude told the Times of London, and shouldn’t be sent to fill out substandard exhibitions designed to bait audiences with the Picasso name.

There are 21 Picasso exhibitions scheduled this year in France alone, where the artist spent most of his adult life, according to the Times. The British daily estimates that at least the same number of shows are being organized in neighboring European countries, including exhibitions at London’s Tate Modern, and Barcelona’s Picasso Museum.

Most of the works come from the collection of the Musée Picasso, which recently launched the “Picasso-Méditerranée 2017-2019″ initiative with the aim of disseminating some of its 5,000 works to more than 60 institutions across the Mediterranean region, including France, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Malta, and Morocco, to highlight the artist’s “obstinately Mediterranean” work.

Critics of this “unprecedented cultural experience” argue that the Picasso programming amounts to little more than an attempt to dominate the region’s cultural discourse, and does little to advance scholarship on the artist’s work.

“Many people expect to make discoveries that, at the end of the day, they do not make, and they are not satisfied with what is on offer,” Claude Picasso said. “Among the exhibitions held, there is a load that are not necessary.”

The French critic and author Eric Biétry-Rivierre agreed in an article for Le Figaro: “It’s not a wave of Picasso exhibitions which is covering France—and from London to Malta—this summer. It’s a tsunami. Some of the exhibitions are excellent. Others are nondescript and do nothing more than surf on the magic of a great name.”

Responding to the criticism, Musée Picasso chairman Laurent Le Bon told the Times, it’s better to exhibit the works than to keep them in storage. “My objective is to ensure that the museum is not a tomb,” he said. “Instead of the same old exhibitions on Picasso and women, Picasso and love, and Picasso and light, we are trying to develop new ideas.” 

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