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Picasso vs Rivera: Mod Art Heavyweights

January 25, 2017
Picasso & Rivera: Conversations Across Time

If this art show were a boxing match, it would be Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman. Two heavyweights of the modern art world – Spain’s larger-than-life Pablo Picasso and Mexico’s creative giant Diego Rivera – come together in a cultural match-up that will have ringside viewers gripped. Knockout!

LACMA’s major exhibition Picasso & Rivera: Conversations Across Time examines these two contemporaries and competitors, both ambitious, prolific and internationally successful. Both were also Hispanic, although Málaga-born, Paris-loving Picasso duked it out for Europe, and Guanajuato-bred, Mexico City-based Rivera represented for Latin America. And both were modernists too, with the show tracing their similar academic training, and the way each embraced Cubism before returning to their roots in the 1920s to 50s – Picasso engaging with Mediterranean myths and the ancient Greco-Roman world, and Rivera inspired by pre-Columbian legends and antiquities, infused with revolutionary and indigenous politics.

Exploring the intersection of global modernism through two towering figures of C.20th art, the curators have gathered over 150 paintings, etchings, watercolours and sculptures, with works juxtaposed with classical art and Mesoamerican objects. There’s even a rediscovered Cubist still-life painting by Rivera of a bottle of Anis which Picasso kept – suggesting mutual respect and influence (they visited each other’s ateliers). Finally, a film compares Rivera’s San Francisco murals with Picasso’s iconic mural-sized anti-war canvas Guernica. Was their relationship a battle or a bromance? Your call…

Until 7 May, 2017.

LACMA / 5905 Wilshire Blvd / +1 323 857 6000 / 11am-5pm Mon-Tue & Thu; until 8pm Fri, 10am-7pm Sat-Sun / lacma.org

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