PICASSO & Other Happy Truths

The older I become the more I am taking note of the fleeting passage of time. It was well over four months ago when I first visited the Picasso exhibit at the AGO’s media preview. It had been a great morning of discovery and contemplation. (Please read my last post: Major Works by PICASSO Arrive at AGO). Seasons have since changed, while the blockbuster show of masterpieces from Picasso’s personal collection borrowed from his namesake museum in Paris, is now over. What a run!

I was privileged to be there on the first day but also return to experience the rush on its closing day: a hot Sunday, the clock was ticking and the air-conditioning was comfortably cool. Looking around, I had gotten the quick sense that for more than many it was their last-chance visit, whereas for me it had already been my third delightful encounter through these moody-lit galleries.

Long but fast-moving queues, hoards of visitors of all ages carrying audio guides and brochures, layers of people gazing at artworks and circling sculptures and, of course, vigilant security watchful of childrens’ musings and everyone else.

I chose to wear my lightweight knapsack as my preference is to be hands-free. But, as soon as I entered the gallery floor, I was reminded by an alert member of security that no bags of any kind or size (irrespective of one’s maturity and carefulness) would be allowed on one’s back. An unfortunate incident at a past exhibit involving a backpack, the owner’s clumsiness and a work of art (oy, just imagine!) had brought into effect this duly applied rule. Appreciating this explanation, I reverted to cradling my bag in my arms, still conscientious of people and valuable artworks all around.

(l) Picasso. (c) Frank Gehry's Staircase, AGO. (r) Professor.

Saluting Picasso, I sauntered over to the Frum Collection of African Art in the gallery next door. Truly beautiful artifacts are on display, crafted with such precision and significance. I sat down to ponder the lives of these artisans… Ungraspable.

Some two hours had passed, and I was readying to leave. But as with every trip to the AGO, I like to check out what’s happening in The Grange, the official members’ lounge. There was quite a lot of activity and, almost immediately, I took ownership of a forward-facing modernist armchair. There began my impromptu, intellectual and interesting exchange with a stranger who, I would soon discover is an AGO member, a francophone, a sociologist, a lover of Paris, a proud father, and someone who bears a striking resemblance to Picasso himself. Art imitates life! Life imitates art! Whatever your subscription, I’m sure you will agree that life is truly enhanced by art. And artful conversations based on curiosity, generosity and youthful spirit make for refreshingly truthful human encounters.

The next stop for Picasso’s heritage treasures is Milan where the show will open at Palazzo Reale on 20 September 2012. Da vedere, a must-see as said in Italian, for Picasso enthusiasts, art lovers and gallery-goers in general. Buona visita in anticipo!

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