On April 8, 2023, it will have been 50 years since Pablo Picasso passed away in his French home from heart failure. In the 80 years that he worked as a painter, sculptor, ceramicist, and printmaker, Picasso revolutionized the art world, not once, but each time he reinvented himself, whether it was with his Blue Period, cubism, or forays into surrealism.
In 2023, the Musée National Picasso-Paris (in partnership with Bernard Picasso, the grandson of Pablo Picasso and president of the Picasso Museum Málaga) will be spearheading a year-long, all-out celebration held to honor the life of Picasso, with a total of 50 exhibitions and events hosted in museums located in Barcelona, Madrid, Malága, Paris, and other cities across Europe and North America. The festivities began with a press conference held in September 2022 in front of Picasso’s Guernica (1937) at Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofía and will end with a major international symposium in fall 2023. The Musée National Picasso-Paris, which has the most Picassos of any French museum (with around 5,000 pieces), is hosting two special exhibitions next year to commemorate the event: Picasso Celebration: The Collection in a New Light and Faith Ringgold.
For Picasso Celebration (March 7–August 27), the Musée National Picasso-Paris has invited British luxury fashion designer Sir Paul Smith to serve as artistic director. Smith shares Picasso’s love for fanciful objects and playfulness, so his goal is to show Picasso’s work through a contemporary lens and highlight its timeless relevance. To that end, the exhibit will also display the works of contemporary international artists who either were inspired or influenced by Picasso, such as Argentinian painter Guillermo Kuitca and Nigerian multimedia creative Obi Okigbo.
One contemporary artist, however, is getting an exhibition all her own. Scheduled to run from January 31 to July 2, 2023, the eponymously titled exhibition Faith Ringgold features the artist’s “French Collection”—a series of 12 quilts inspired by a 1961 trip to France she took with her mother and two daughters. Ringgold is known for the vibrancy and narrative scope of her painted quilts (which are constructed in the African American tradition) and she has cited Picasso as one of the greatest influences of her career; their work is even shown together, side-by-side at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Ringgold’s French Collection stars her alter ego, Willia Marie Simone, who often appears in her work. The series explores Ringgold’s experience of being a Black American woman—and mother—aspiring to be an artist. It also pays homage to the white European artists who inspired her while constructively critiquing them as well.
Admission to the Musée National Picasso-Paris is $15.