First it was Vincent van Gogh, and now Pablo Picasso is in the spotlight. Make that a giant spotlight.
Imagine Picasso, an immersive, multimedia experience produced by the same creative team behind the Imagine Van Gogh immersive exhibit, is set to make its U.S. debut on Wednesday, February 9, at Skylight at The Armory. The exhibition made its debut in Lyon, France, before moving to Quebec, Vancouver, and now San Francisco.
The exhibition uses more than 200 paintings from museum collections, including the Musée Picasso in Paris, the Museu Picasso in Barcelona, the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) in New York, and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, as well as private collections. Those images are then projected onto origami structures — inspired by some of Picasso’s later work — that are up to 26 feet tall.
“It’s very interesting for visitors to see Pablo Picasso in a new way,” Olivier Widmaier Picasso, Picasso’s grandson, told TravelAwaits in a statement. “I think this exhibition would have pleased my grandfather a lot because he was, above all, a man of freedom.”
A Legendary Artist
Born in Malaga, Spain, in 1881, “Picasso attended art schools in his native Spain and in his late teens aligned his sensibilities with bohemian writers and artists in Barcelona and Madrid who opposed Spain’s stalled social hierarchies and conservative culture,” the National Gallery of Art explains. “After early work inspired by international models — the anguished, attenuated figures of El Greco, the dark, moody outlines of symbolism, and the sinuous curvatures of Art nouveau to name a few — Picasso began to find his own vision.”
Picasso is perhaps best known for his Cubist work. After all, he and French artist Georges Braque co-founded the art movement known as Cubism in 1909.
However, Picasso was, if nothing else, eclectic. Other pieces of his work are known as great works of Classicism and the Surreal movements.
Picasso was also known for his prodigious output. Indeed, in his lifetime, Picasso produced about 147,800 pieces. Of that work, 13,500 are paintings, 100,000 are prints and engravings, 300 are sculptures and ceramics, and 34,000 are illustrations.
You may be familiar with The Old Guitarist. That notable piece was from Picasso’s so-called “blue period,” when he only used shades of blue to explore themes of poverty and suffering.
And then there’s Guernica, which could very well be Picasso’s best-known work. The disturbing painting — in muted shades of gray — depicts an aerial bombing on the Basque town of Guernica in April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War.
Picasso died in 1972 at the age of 91.
The Immersive Approach
French filmmaker and photographer Albert Plécy invented the concept of Image Totale in 1977 as a means to immerse spectators in an image. His granddaughter-in-law, Annabelle Mauger, worked directly with Plecy.
Imagine Picasso was conceptualized by Mauger and Julien Baron to offer a new perspective on Picasso’s work.
“We created this exhibition so guests can step into Picasso’s paintings through a dialogue of detail and depth,” Mauger, creator of Imagine Picasso and the original creator of the first immersive Van Gogh exhibition, told TravelAwaits in a statement. “It’s important that people of all ages, backgrounds, and artistic knowledge have the same opportunity to experience his works. Immersive exhibitions open the door for younger generations to celebrate his work, allowing Picasso’s legacy and influence on the arts to live on.”
How To Enjoy Imagine Picasso
Imagine Picasso is a limited 8-week engagement at Skylight at The Armory in San Francisco. Tickets for the exhibit, which will run from February 9 through March 27, are on sale now.
You can buy tickets here.
Finally, it should be pointed out that Imagine Picasso will follow all CDC and city of San Francisco COVID-19 protocols, including operating at a reduced capacity. Proof of vaccination is required for entry and masks must be worn at all times, regardless of vaccination status.
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