Lecture: From Brothels to Soap Pads: Picasso’s Les Demoiselles to Warhol’s Brillo Boxes

June 05, 2013
Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.
The Strand Theatre, Rockland
In 1907, Picasso hoped that his largest painting to date would be a seminal work that would triumph over all the efforts of his competition. He was 26 years old. His painting of five women in a brothel rejected many of the conventions standards in Western painting for over 500 years or since the Renaissance, including carefully modeled human figures, accurate color, and convincing depiction of three dimensional space on the surface of the flat canvas. Although containing recognizable objects and figures, Les Demoiselles fired some of the first shots in the battle of abstraction against realism and was the founding painting of Cubism. Although recognized today for its stylistic innovations, Les Demoiselles was Picasso’s summation of his personal beliefs about women, Parisian society, disease and death. The painting’s influence on European and American artists throughout the 20th Century is unrivalled.
On April 21, 1964, at the opening of an exhibition at the Stable Gallery in New York, visitors were confronted by floor-to-ceiling stacks of Brillo boxes. These were not full nor empty cardboard boxes made for the product, but rather wooden boxes that Andy Warhol and two assistants had carefully silk-screened in order to mimic the real things. The exhibition was a decidedly commercial flop. However, Warhol’s “Brillo Box Show” exploded the idea of what art was or should be, and threw the art world into the ongoing debate on the roles of celebrity, the market, and money. The esteemed art critic Arthur Danto sees this exhibition as the dividing line between the Modern and Post-Modern periods and believes Warhol was truly one of the most influential artists in the last hundred years.
Cost: $12 members, $16 nonmembers. For series ticket please visit here.
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Price: $12.00