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Posted at 8:42 AM ET, 11/23/2010

Gopnik's Daily Pic: Picasso's "Arm" at the Hirshhorn

By Blake Gopnik


The latest feed from my morning musings about art and objects at www.blakegopnik.com.

PicassoArm.jpg
(Courtesy the Hirshhorn Museum)

"Arm," modeled by Picasso in 1959 then cast in bronze in 1961, and now on view at the Hirshhorn Museum. It's almost a distillation of Picasso's epic, lifelong self-assertion as an artist: "Here I am, deal with me." Or maybe it's, "Stop - in the name of art."

As with all Picasso's solipsistic posturings, there's also something faintly comic to this piece - a comedy he (or it) almost seems to acknowledge. "Arm" amplifies the cliche of the artist's art-making "hand" until it's close to caricature, as a hand-made hand that wants to talk about hand making. The piece is also poignant: A powerful artist grows old and weaker, yet depicts himself as unchanged in might.

(Click on the image to see it larger.)

By Blake Gopnik  | November 23, 2010; 8:42 AM ET
Categories:  Blake Gopnik, Museums  | Tags:  Daily Pic  
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Next: Gopnik's Daily Pic: Picasso's "Arm" - again

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