San Francisco’s immersive Picasso exhibit turns anti-war masterpiece ‘Guernica’ into Instagram backdrop

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Get excited in San Francisco – for the low price of $39.99 you can take part in the latest immersive art craze, this one about probably the most famous of all modern artists: Pablo Picasso. The exhibition, titled “Imagine Picasso”, incorporates images from more than 200 works by the late Spanish artist, whose creativity and experimentation defined art history for much of the 20th century.

A press release for the show notes that the team worked directly with the Picasso estate, “to ensure the experience meets their high standards.” Olivier Widmaier Picasso, Pablo’s grandson is said to have said: “I think my grandfather would have liked this exhibition a lot because he was above all a man of freedom.

From the look of promotional images for ‘Imagine Picasso,’ paintings that have literally upended art conventions are shattered into pieces and mounted on bewildering sculptural constructs that protrude from the ground, serving as screens of inspiration. cubist (these are described as “origami-style volumes” and are courtesy of French architect Rudy Ricciotti). The giant-sized exhibit, full of huge projections, fills 40,000 square feet at the San Francisco Armory.

View of the installation “Imagine Picasso”. Courtesy of “Imagine Picasso”.

Unlike other artists who were given the treatment of immersive experience—like Claude Monet or Vincent van Gogh, whose luminous landscapes are perhaps better suited to immersive escapism—Picasso is best known for works like Guernicathe mural that depicts the horrific aftermath of a 1937 fascist bombing, filled with images of dismembered figures moaning in pain surrounded by writhing animals.

On the show’s Instagram page, you can see a scene from “Imagine Picasso” in which fragments of Guernica are projected onto the triangular screens at odd angles. A figure with arms raised, screaming in utter despair, is cropped and reproduced several times.

Instagram screenshot taken indoors

Instagram screenshot taken in “Imagine Picasso”. Courtesy of “Imagine Picasso”.

Meanwhile, visitors wander around the deconstructed image on a floor bathed in blood-red light, to suggest the carnage depicted in the painting.

Other “Imagine Picasso” installation images reveal slightly less macabre uses of Picasso’s work, such as when the room is transformed into a playful house-style mash-up of the artist’s famous portraits of his lovers, or a sliced ​​and diced projection of The Ladies of Avignon, perhaps trying to convey its revolutionary distortions in the parlance of Instagram.

“It’s important that people of all ages, backgrounds and artistic backgrounds have the same opportunity to experience her works,” designer Annabelle Mauger said in a statement. “Immersive exhibits open the door for younger generations to celebrate his work, allowing Picasso’s legacy and influence to live on.”

“Imagine Picasso” is not the first recent collaboration from representatives of the artist’s estate to attract attention in recent months.

At the end of January, Marina Picasso, the artist’s granddaughter, and her DJ son, Florian, announced a release plan of 1,000 NFTs based on a ceramic bowl accompanied by a song inspired by the collection performed by John Legend and Nas. Other family members opposed the plan. In the end, it was Florian’s work that made its debut on the blockchain, and a week after the sale began, 900 of the 1,000 NFTs remained unsold.

“Imagine Picasso,” which makes its US debut in San Francisco after appearing in France and Canada, will it be a hit that lives up to Picasso’s status in art history? At least one local reviewer, Sarah Hotchkiss of KQED, said she “didn’t hate it”, although the San Francisco ChronicleTony Bravo was less positive. It is open until March 27.

Below, see more images from “Imagine Picasso.”

Installation view of

View of the installation “Imagine Picasso”. Courtesy of “Imagine Picasso”.

Installation view of

View of the installation “Imagine Picasso”. Courtesy of “Imagine Picasso”.

Installation view of

View of the installation “Imagine Picasso”. Courtesy of “Imagine Picasso”.

Installation view of

View of the installation “Imagine Picasso”. Courtesy of “Imagine Picasso”.

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