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International Seminar

Picasso and Applied Arts

17 and 18 November 2022 | MPM Auditorium

Textiles, ceramics, jewellery, furniture, fashion, glassware, painted paper and architectural elements, among other art forms commonly designed for use in everyday life have been and continue to be fields of experimentation for many artists, with Pablo Picasso being one of them.

Is the classic debate between so-called high and low culture still relevant? Under what terms are collaborations between artists and artisans for the production of serialised objects carried out? To what extent are these exclusive works of art conceived to be used?

By addressing generic issues and specific cases, the aim of this seminar is to provide a more precise understanding of Pablo Picasso’s interest in serialised works and to address problems arising from the relationship between the conventional art of the museum and the applied arts today.

Seminar organised in collaboration with the Fundación General de la Universidad de Málaga, led by Pepe Karmel, professor of Art History at New York University.

Contact: artesaplicadas@mpicassom.org

GUIDE TO THE SESSIONS

SESSION 1: POPULAR ARTS FOR THE PEOPLE? THE SHIFT IN ANTAGONISM BETWEEN HIGH AND LOW CULTURE

Picasso's strong interest in the popular arts undoubtedly reflects the fact that he was born within a culture, the Mediterranean, that has historically taken great pleasure in hands-on crafts and particularly in ceramics -- an important medium within Picasso's oeuvre.

The long-running question of the traditional debate between an elitist public sphere and a plebeian public sphere resulted in the breakdown of the cultural monopoly of the elites in the Western world. The forays of modern artists, such as Pablo Picasso, into the fields of jewellery, furniture, ceramics and fashion, among other art forms, signified, for some, the trivialisation of the arts. For most people, however, it also meant the possibility of gaining access to certain items that were restricted only a few decades ago.

The aim of this session is to re-examine, in the 21st century, the old debate between so-called ‘high culture’ and ‘popular culture’. In order to explore whether its limits have been overcome or not, economic, taxonomic and historiographical aspects will be analysed to redefine the present and the future of an obsolete or, at least, confused form of categorisation in present-day history of art.

SESSION 2: WHO MADE THIS? THE ONE WHO THINKS AND THE ONE WHO MAKES: THE IDEA AND THE FORM

Picasso's personality resounds through all of his work. At the same time, he took great pleasure in collaborating with other artists and artisans in mediums such as ceramics, weaving, jewelry, blacksmithing and printing.

The raison d’être of the applied arts is based on the artist’s conception of objects that have been created for a specific use in people’s everyday lives. For this reason, concepts come into play in their conception and production which may seem contradictory, but which are nevertheless dependent on one another: collaboration between artists and artisans or makers, the relationship between the idea or the project and execution or the technique, the physical space of the studio and the place of work, and the one-off piece and the multiple edition.

Arising from these concepts is the question of authorship. Shedding light on the working processes and contractual agreements between artists and workshops continues to raise concerns for many researchers. This session aims to explore themes related to the one-off pieces and serialised works created by Pablo Picasso and his collaborators.

SESSION 3: APPLIED ARTS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY?

Picasso's contributions to the applied arts are of particular interest in this historical moment, when contemporary art practices seek to recover and update traditional technics that underline the expressive power of materials as textiles and clay.

During the second half of the twentieth century, the limits of art expanded  immensely, encompassing a large number of art forms traditionally regarded as ‘objects’ with a specific use, such as ceramic plates that were never used as plates, necklaces that were never worn around any necks, and chairs that no one ever sat on.

What do the applied arts mean in the twenty-first century? How do they interact with art to create one-off or multiple editions? Who are these items for? In this session we will learn about the experiences of international artists whose work has gone beyond the boundaries of the visual arts to encompass conceptual and process-based fields closely associated with the applied arts.

PROGRAMME

THURSDAY 17 NOVEMBER

SESSION 1: POPULAR ARTS FOR THE PEOPLE? THE SHIFT IN ANTAGONISM BETWEEN HIGH AND LOW CULTURE.

10.30am Welcome
Diego Vera. General director, Fundación General de la Universidad de Málaga.
Pepe Karmel. Professor, Department of Art History, New York University.
José Lebrero Stals. Artistic director, Museo Picasso Málaga.

11am When do Popular Cultures Exist and Who Decides?
Néstor García Canclini. Distinguished Professor, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana de México and Emeritus Researcher, Sistema Nacional de Investigadores.

11.40am The Best High Culture Is Low Culture
Will Gompertz. Artistic Director, Barbican Centre, London.

12pm How Notions of Authorship and Authenticity Withstand the Distinction between High and Popular Culture
Alberto Luque. Professor of History of Art, Universidad de Lérida.  

12.20pm When High Meets Low: the Decorative Means of Cubism
Claire Le Thomas. Independent scholar, Paris.

12.40pm Break

13pm Debate
           
SESSION 2: WHO MADE THIS? THE ONE WHO THINKS AND THE ONE WHO MAKES. THE IDEA AND THE FORM.   

17pm Object and Image. Picasso's Ceramics: Concepts, Working Methods, Motivations
Salvador Haro. Professor of Fine Arts, Universidad de Málaga.
Harald Theil. Independent art historian and exhibition curator, Toulouse.

17.40pm When Tapestries Became Modern Art
K.L.H. Wells. Associate Professor of Art History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.           

18pm 3D Reconstruction of Picasso’s Last Monumental Project
Kamila Oles. Research Fellow, Open Virtual Worlds research group, School of Computer Science, University of St Andrews and Head of Digital Cultural Heritage, Smart History.

18.20pm Auteur and Artiste, Differences of Opinion: Picasso’s Collaboration with François Hugo
Clare Finn. Independent scholar, London.

18.40pm Break

19pm Debate
               
FRIDAY 18 NOVEMBER     

SESSION 3: APPLIED ARTS IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY?

10.30am Picasso, Craft, and Mass production
Pepe Karmel. Professor, Department of Art History, New York University.

11.10am Gabriel Chaile and the Engineering of Necessity
Gabriel Chaile. Artist, Tucumán.

11.30am Innovative Craftsmanship Applied to Sculpture. Fundición Capa
Fernando Capa. General director, Eduardo Capa, S.A., Arganda del Rey.

11.50am Break

12.10pm From Tapestry to Contemporary Art. An Exploration of a Singular Case
Lala de Dios. Independent scholar, Madrid.

12.30pm Studio, Factory, Office and Business
Jeff Koons. Artist, New York.           

12.50pm Debate and conclusions.

The contents and the order of talks shown in the programme may be subject to change.
The seminar combines online and face to face presentations.
English and Spanish translations are incorporated.

REGISTRATION

Registration for face-to-face assistance, here
Registration for online assistance, here
 
The MPM Auditorium is located on Plaza de la Higuera, which is reached from Calle Alcazabilla. See map.
 
 

See also