Color Style Kyle

Combining art, creativity, design, family, health, humor and books.

Picasso and American Art at the SFMoMA

Posted by Kyle Design on May 31, 2007

I took my family to see the Pablo Picasso show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) over the Memorial Day weekend. The show, Picasso and American Art, was a collection of nearly 150 pieces of work by famous American artists including Stuart Davis, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, Andy Warhol, Arshile Gorky, Davis Smith, Max Weber and John Graham that were displayed alongside the influential works of Picasso that inspired them.

It was fascinating to see the impact Picasso’s work had on these artists. They experimented with his color pallet, the dissonant shapes, the subject matters. In general, thought, I felt that Picasso did the better job: that’s Picasso’s pieces were stronger, more visually interesting than those who attempted to imitate his style. Although Picasso never visited America, he had a huge impact on the direction of American art.

While some of the artists in the show seemed just to create in his style, others took the ideas Picasso presented and made them their own. When I asked my 11-year old daughter, Parker, which piece in the show she liked best, she brought me to the piece I, too, like best – a small work of abstract shapes painted in cool colors by Willem de Kooning.

Picasso’s legacy certainly had enormous impact on American art, if in no other way but to force artists to move beyond the realistic and embrace the abstract. He caused artists to look at their work in a different way, to see in a new way, and this stretching of the creative mind was a very good exercise for the American art scene. Seeing the show really gave me an important context for interpreting and evaluating contemporary works of art by modern masters.

My girls also liked a painting by Jackson Pollack called Gothic. I pointed out that Pollack was one of the artists featured in the book Olivia, and it was fun to see the smile of recognition spread over their faces. Another piece they liked was the 3 dimensional kitchen scene by Tom Wesselmann entitled Still Life #30. Still, the thing that caught their attention the most was a toy – a color changing ball from the museum gift shop called the Switch Pitch Color Changing Ball. They were tossing it everywhere, even where they shouldn’t have been. >:-(

Afterwards, I took the girls to Britex Fabrics on Geary Street in San Francisco and they loved it! Four floors of gorgeous fabrics from around the world, trims, tassels, lace and buttons. Although some of these wonderful fabrics are several hundred dollars a yard(!), they also have unique selections that are still affordable. If you are an artist or are at all visually inclined, then Britex is a don’t miss stop!


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