Picassomania Stronger Than Ever in Malaga
Nov 15, 2023
The Museo Picasso Málaga Celebrates 20 Years
Two New Exhibitions in Málaga Showcase Picasso’s Image & Influence
As Málaga’s most famous “son”, artist Pablo Picasso has long been one of the greatest attractions of his native city – never more so since the creation of the long-awaited MPM Museo Picasso Málaga back in 2003.
The arrival of the MPM took Picassomania to new heights, displaying a wealth of artistic treasures by the 20th century’s greatest artistic genius and allowing Málaga to show off a large number of works, previously never seen in Spain and initiating a new wave of cultural tourism that would change the face of the city forever. Following in the footsteps of the MPM, the city gained several other world class art museums including the CAC, the Museo Carmen Thyssen, the Russian Museum Málaga and the Centro Pompidou Málaga.
In this, the 50th year since Picasso’s death, both Spanish and French authorities have staged a number of commemorative acts, exhibitions and events exploring his work, legacy and influence in Europe and the USA, and Málaga, as the birthplace of the artist has put together a programme of events and major exhibitions in this important year.
The MPM Museo Picasso Málaga
The Museo Picasso Málaga has, in the past 20 years, become the most visited museum in Andalucía, and is considered the “flagship” of the cultural institutions in the so-called city of museums with more than 30 to enjoy.
Having lived in exile for much of his life – during the restrictive regime of General Franco – from 1935 until 1975, P
icasso was exiled from his home country and made his life in France, also stirring up the art scene in New York – although he never visited the US and never returned to Spain. With much of his body of work created outside the country, many of the artist’s most outstanding works were to be found outside of Spain – a fact that was redressed 20 years ago when the long-awaited MPM Museo Picasso Málaga opened in the stunning, restored 16th century Palacio de Buenavista in the heart of the city, just minutes from Picasso’s birthplace.
The museum features 285 works donated to the museum by members of Picasso’s family and, in its twenty years of operation, the MPM has received some 9 million visitors. With dozens of temporary exhibitions curated alongside the permanent collection, this museum has not only honoured the life and work of Picasso, but the MPM has been key in creating a new wave of cultural tourism in the city. Followed by the Carmen Thyssen museum also in the historic centre of town, the CAC, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo in the SoHo district of Málaga and the Centre Pompidou in the revamped Muelle Uno area of the port, this concentration of world-class art has put Málaga city firmly on the map as a cultural tourism destination.
This renewed interest in Málaga’s cultural life has led to the renovation of many of the city’s beautiful historic buildings, many of which have been lovingly restored and converted into apartments for 21st century living. Along with the original attractions of Andalusian food, feria and beaches, the art-loving tourists have flooded in to Málaga for city breaks – and stopovers on Mediterranean cruises – bringing with them a massive boost to the local economy with many hotels, restaurants and shops raising the bar to meet the demands of the new, more discerning tourists.
The Echo of Picasso
As well as celebrating a successful 20 years, the MPM is commemorating the 50th anniversary of Picasso’s death (1881-1973) with El Eco de Picasso, an exhibition showcasing his dominance and influence on 20th century artists.
The permanent collection is made up of works loaned to the MPM by relatives of Picasso, Cristina Ruiz-Picasso, who was married to Picasso’s son Pablo, and Cristina’s son Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, Picasso’s grandson. The museum was the will of the great artist himself, and has been made possible thanks to their generosity, and the support of the Culture Department of the Andalusian Regional Government who purchased and rehabilitated the Palacio de Buenavista to bring the works of Málaga’s most famous son back to the city.
Featuring drawings, etchings and paintings spanning the lifetime of the artist – from the age of 9 years old, the MPM has featured 42 temporary exhibitions, hosted countless creative initiatives, lectures and courses and has become a respected centre for the study and research of the life and works of Picasso.
To celebrate this landmark anniversary, the MPM has put together a programme of acts in the city. Importantly the museum has curated an exhibition entitled
El Eco de Picasso – a celebration of the 50 years since the artist’s death in 1973 – showcasing his enormous influence on 20th century artists.
Curated by Eric Troncy, the stunning exhibition features works by artists who were clearly inspired by and influenced by Picasso in everything from style, use of materials, such as painted bronze, cubism, collage, ceramics, his disregard for convention and the themes that obsessed the Spanish genius, including portraits, nudes and bulls.
By the ingenious juxtaposition of works by the great man himself, alongside a fascinating selection of works by artists whose paintings, etchings and sculptures have clearly been influenced by the art of Picasso, we appreciate the enormous impact the Málaga born genius had on his contemporaries.
This exhibition is intended to show the conversation and dynamic created between Picasso and a host of artists whose work echoes that of Picasso.
Among the featured artists’ work are leading figures including: Francis Bacon, Jean Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Willem de Kooning, Sarah Morris and Tom Wesselmann.
As George Condo – one of the featured artists – stated in 2006, being a contemporary of the prolific and obsessive artist must have been “a nightmare for artists of his generation, trying to keep up with him, but now we have the freedom of distance” Picasso’s influence and legacy can be appreciated.
El Eco de Picasso exhibition launched on 3rd October and runs until 31st March 2024. Reserving tickets online is advisable. www.museopicassomalaga.org
Interpreting Picasso’s Image
The celebrations of the 50 years since Picasso’s death continue over at his birthplace with an exhibition exploring the image of Picasso rendered over the years by the media.
Picasso’ birthplace, the Casa Natal Picasso in Málaga’s Plaza de La Merced became a museum back in 1988, creating a place for visitors to pay homage to the most important 20th century artist in the humble home in this beautiful square where the artist was born in 1881.
Documenting not only his work but his frequently colourful and dramatic personal life, this new exhibition displays a modest, yet interesting selection of books, articles, artworks and films centred on events in the great artist’s life, his art, and frequently the man at work in this studio.
The exhibition La Imagen de Picasso, explores how the artist has been viewed in a range of media covering everything from the press, photography, cinema, popular music and advertising. Seeing him as a young rebel through to a vigorous old man, Picasso has been viewed and represented in eclectic ways and forms allowing the viewer to cherry pick the image which best represents their taste and vision.
Among the exhibits – which all belong to the Casa Natal Picasso, we find a range of books on the artist’s life and works, from photographic works to in-depth biographies – frequently controversial including Arianna’s Huffington’s biography Picasso: Creator & Destroyer.
The exhibition includes original newspaper cuttings from well-known French and Spanish publications, including a copy of Málaga’s Diario Sur’s front page on the day of Pablo Picasso’s death in April 1973.
A bank of video screens shows a selection of the movies made about one of the most fascinating characters of the art world with works that both revere and mock the man. Included is the recent film Genius: Picasso in which Málaga’s other most famous son – superstar actor Antonio Banderas embodies the role of the artist.
Also featured are caricatures and comic style artworks – including one from Equipo Cronica from the 1980s, and a photograph of a striking black and white illustration of a rhinoceros formed by vignettes from Picasso’s colourful life. The original by Francois Olislaeger occupies a large space at the Musée de Pablo Picasso, Paris.
The Imagen de Picasso exhibition launched on 18th October 2023 at the Casa Natal Picasso, Plaza de la Merced, Málaga and runs until 3rd March 2024. www.casanatalpicasso.malaga.eu