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Picture Stories

A few picture stories ‘& essays
Scroll Recent Posts‘ and ‘Categories‘ for more words & pictures combinations.

 

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Picasso: Challenging the Spin

A ‘combative encounter’ with Picasso and groveling art-speak.

I’m not Picasso’s greatest admirer and I went to the National Gallery’s Picasso  exhibition armed with my usual misgivings about the nature of Pablo Picasso’s so-called ‘genius’. Whilst I haven’t previously seen many of Picasso’s paintings in the raw, the ones I did make efforts to view, including Guernica, didn’t exactly scorch the depths of my being.
Anyhow, it was a once in a lifetime  opportunity and for that reason was not to be missed.

It is a cliché that Picasso was one of the (if not THE) most influential artists of the 20th century. But how you see his influence on the world of art depends on your understanding of what the true essence, purpose and pinnacle of art actually is.
For the sake of my own simple mind, I sometimes imagine art through the ages as being one long tapestry through time, on which the (varying shades of) genius of each generation has left its indelible mark. When we get to the beginning of the last century, much of the tapestry starts to get cloudy, as can be seen in Claude Monet’s ‘Water-Lillies’ in Tate Modern. Brush strokes then fragment as isms and ists spring up like ‘toadstools after a rain’, and art’s tapestry is blurred by murky footnotes and textual spin. Judging purely from Picasso’s paintings in The National Gallery exhibition, he was quick to seize upon deconstruction and what unfolded through the six rooms was less like a painter eagerly ‘responding’ to the past’s rich tapestry, as one ripping out the threads and re-weaving them to suit his own ends. And whilst the styles may flutter, the hub of the work on the walls was unchanging.

Two defining facets of genius are these:
Firstly, that it rarely (if ever) comes via a committee’s approval, and secondly, that compromise makes an uneasy bedfellow. Continue reading Picasso: Challenging the Spin

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Everton Goodison Park

Goodison Park Everton

The brother of a friend tells a good story about Everton’s football ground.

In the days when he worked for a Spanish bank, he decided to take one of the bank’s bigwigs to a European night match against one of the Spanish sides. The fact that it was November 5th and bonfires were raging across the city didn’t raise any alarm bells, until they drove through one of the rougher parts of the city that now resembled a war zone.
Continue reading Everton Goodison Park

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Goya

Francisco de Goya

I’m tempted to state that anyone even remotely inclined towards artistic expression will know the pain of compromise, particularly if working with (and in) the media or on commercial commissions.
But this is perhaps less true now than it ever was, and here are two of the reasons why: Continue reading Goya

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Central Library

Manchester Central Library and Library Walk
Manchester Central Library and Library Walk

When I first went to the British Library in London, two of of the most impressive details were:

1: two power points at each desk for library users
2: Comfortable desk & seating, presumably based on an understanding of how humans are supposed to sit. 
Continue reading Central Library