December 16, 2010

I Want To See 'Toys Of The Avant Garde'

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
Wooden Toy painted by Pablo Picasso
c. 1920s
Painted wood and metal
23.5 x 36 x 23 cm
Private collection. Courtesy Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte
©Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Málaga 2010

I've finally managed to read through the catalogue essays for this show I mentioned at the Museo Picasso Malaga, "Toys of the Avant-Garde," and I am really wanting to get there to see it.

The show, curated by Carlos Pérez and MPM artistic director José Lebrero Stals, has over 600 toys, objects, and books made by dozens of artists of the early 20th century. It's a diverse group of artists who shared little more than an interest in pursuing the modernist dream.

I don't think "Toys of the Avant Garde" is trying to make an argument that these artist-made toys are actually art objects themselves, and that's fine. The more relevant points focus on the place of children, education, and play in the glorious modern world these artists were trying to bring about. And on the connection between children's art and play and the artmaking practices of modernism, cubism and abstraction. And on fleshing out the context for artists' work by looking at the other things they made.

mpm_klee_puppet.jpgWhile that occasionally means artists designing products, such as Ladislav Sutnar and Joaquín Torres-García and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, the most interesting part of the show are the things artists made for themselves, their own kids, or their friends' kids.

Like the car up top, made by Picasso for his son Paulo. [According to Christopher Turner's essay, Picasso was fascinated by children's art, and he was always making stuff for kids.] After finding and exhibiting his own childhood drawings, Paul Klee created a veritable army of puppets for his young son, who went on to become the youngest student at the Bauhaus. [Wait, what do you mean, a replica puppet??]

There's a lot going on here. Or there. Far away over there in Spain, where I will not be before January 30.

Toys of the Avant-Garde runs through Jan. 30 2011 []

Paul Klee (1879 - 1940)
Untitled (Crowned Poet)
Original, 1919 (replica, 2006-2008)
Head: painted plaster, metal ornamentation, gauze fabric and woven red ribbon; costume: two different fabrics and metal ring
Puppet: 35 cm / 49.5 x 28.2 x 22.2 cm
Zentrum Paul Klee, Berne
© Paul Klee, VEGAP, Málaga 2010


I'd love to get a copy of the catalog, Greg--how did you get it? I've written them without reply, and can't find a way to order online. Any advice?

As I wrote on this topic before, this exhibition will be showing in Valencia (Spain) by spring 2011 as it has been curated by both museums MPM an MUVIM.

Here's the museum in Valencia:

Adam,you will be able to order a catalogue from the muvim online bookstore. I have been told it will be avalaible soon. You can write the girl there she's really nice and I am sure she'll write you back.

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