What Stimulates the Artist? Other Art

The Gagosian Gallery features works painted by Picasso in the decade before his death.

The Gagosian Gallery features works painted by Picasso in the decade before his death.

I got more and more excited and inspired as I read Roberta Smith’s review of “Picasso: Mosqueteros” at the Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea. And I’m not even an artist! I’ve written recently on Picasso’s late period, talking about his inventive works that escalated into even more inventiveness-slash-craziness as a non-phenomenon that should be expected. Face it, we all get crazier as we get older. And it manifests itself in every way we communicate — at work, in writing, on canvas.

But what I found most compelling in all Smith’s breathy wonderment of the show didn’t come until the very end of the article when she gave the ultimate tribute not only to Picasso, but also to artists everywhere:

Anything this charged and unforgettable is bound to nourish anyone who sees it, but especially artists, regardless of affiliations of style or medium. It reveals one of their greatest going all out, providing a breathtaking reminder that art can be anything an artist wants it to be, as long as it is driven by inner necessity, ruthless self-scrutiny and a determination to make every attempt not to repeat the past.

It’s a refreshing reminder about what art is for and what artists are striving for. In his last decade, Picasso threw the ultimate hail mary.

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