I was delighted and excited to read about Leonard A. Lauder's extraordinary gift to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York: a trove of cubist paintings valued at $1 BILLION. This extraordinary gift includes 33 Picasso works, 17 Braques, 14 Légers and 14 Gris, many of which represent major turning points in art history. New York City, you will be visited in 2014, no doubt!
I saw an exhibit of Picasso's work at the Art Gallery of Ontario last year — works that Picasso had kept in his own collection until his death, each significant markers of his artistic development in all its radical glory. There were several cubist pieces in the collection, and these are the ones that entranced me beyond any other. I could gaze upon them for hours. Something about this incredibly bold movement away from linear representation has always moved me, possibly because it is the threshold that once crossed, opened the endless possibilities of abstraction for all artists since. I think of this process when I create art in any medium. By taking what is seen and breaking it open, by allowing the mentally ordered perception of sight to shift and twist and fragment and be presented through time — this glance here, this observation there, and here, a new angle — even the process of thought becomes freer. The linear sense of narrative that we habitually impose on everything, can loosen. The tyranny of procedural logic and strict, frozen perspective is optional, Cubism shows us. When we allow ourselves to see differently, we can think differently too.