Jerry Saltz can speak for himself. So let’s see what he has to say about MoMA’s new show of Picasso’s sculptures:
Now, for the first time since the Museum of Modern Art’s epic 1967 “The Sculpture of Picasso,” MoMA returns to this fertile delta with more than 150 of his slabbed, shattering, avian-shaped, hallucinogenically assembled sculptures. This is a fantastic show. The work in this exhibition represents a macro evolution in the history of art, and at MoMA, you will see objects that look like loofahs shellacked with tough nuggets and nettles; vertebrae forms; craniums that look like crustaceans; dolls and Roman soldiers that might be from the Crab Nebula; iron-cage works that go off like slow fuses, morphing into movies, maps, and sliding diagrams. I found myself constantly having to catch my breath, reassessing what I thought about Picasso’s sculptures, even seeing a lot of what I thought were clunkers as packing information that scores of artists are still putting to good use. (One abstract cast of a crumpled paper bag basically gives rise to artists like Jean Debuffet and movements like Art Informel and Tachisme.) Whatever you do, don’t miss this exhibition; this is exactly the kind of show MoMA is made for. Museum co-curators Ann Temkin and Anne Umland (with Virginie Perdrisot) make MoMA’s fourth-floor galleries look more beautiful and useful than they have ever looked. Linger in these spaces; the chance won’t come again for a long time. “Picasso Sculpture” could be one of the great learning experiences of your seeing life.