Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

May 26th, 2008
Gallery of Pablo Picasso's Guernica at the Reina Sofia Museum to Get Complete Overhaul

(Madrid, Spain) - Guernica, Pablo Picasso's 1937 large anti-war painting, has been given a new illumination and will be repositioned at Madrid's Reina Sofia museum of modern art. The museum is also trying to recreate the atmosphere of the 1937 Paris Universal Exposition where the Guernica was first seen, with other art works and an anti-war movie that were shown at the Spanish pavilion, a miniature model of which is included in the display.
Manuel Borja-Villel, director of the Reina Sofia, announced in a press conference the changes that are being undertaken to improve the gallery in which Guernica is installed. To start off, the lighting has been changed, from yellow to white. The painting will be installed in the front wall where it now hangs. This will allow visitors to see it from the front, walls around it will be torn down.

The Spanish government commissioned Pablo Picasso to paint a large mural for the Spanish display at the Paris International Exposition (the 1937 World's Fair in Paris). The Guernica bombing inspired Picasso. Within 15 days of the attack, Pablo Picasso began painting this mural. On completion Guernica was displayed around the world in a brief tour, becoming famous and widely acclaimed. This tour brought the Spanish civil war to the world's attention. Guernica epitomizes the tragedies of war and the suffering war inflicts upon individuals. This monumental work has eclipsed the bounds of a single time and place, becoming a perpetual reminder of the tragedies of war, an anti-war symbol, and an embodiment of peace.

The display of Guernica was accompanied by a poem by Paul √Čluard, and the pavilion displayed works by Joan Mir√≥ and Alexander Calder, both of whom were sympathetic to the Republican cause.After the Paris Exhibition, the painting went on tour, first to the Scandinavian capitals, then to London, where it arrived on September 30, 1938, the same day the Munich Agreement was signed by the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany. The London exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

At Picasso's request the safekeeping of the piece was entrusted to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City. It formed the centerpiece of a Picasso retrospective at MOMA which opened six weeks after the Nazi invasion of Poland.Between 1939 and 1952, the painting traveled extensively in the United States; between 1953 and 1956 it was shown in Brazil, at the first-ever Picasso retrospective in Milan, Italy, and then in numerous other major European cities, before returning to MOMA for a retrospective celebrating Picasso's seventy-fifth birthday. It then went on to Chicago and Philadelphia. By this time, concern for the state of the painting resulted in a decision to keep it in one place: a room on MOMA's third floor, where it was accompanied by several of Picasso's preliminary studies and some of Dora Maar's photos. While living in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II, Picasso suffered harassment from the Gestapo. One officer allegedly asked him, upon seeing a photo of Guernica in his apartment, "Did you do that?" Picasso responded, "No, you did."

During the Vietnam War, the room containing the painting became the site of occasional anti-war vigils. These were usually peaceful and uneventful, but in 1974, Tony Shafrazi — ostensibly protesting Richard Nixon's pardon of William Calley for the latter's actions during the My Lai massacre — defaced the painting with red spray paint, painting the words "KILL LIES ALL"; the paint was removed with relative ease from the varnished surface.

As early as 1968, Franco had expressed an interest in having Guernica return to Spain. However, Picasso refused to allow this until the Spanish people again enjoyed a republic. He later added other conditions, such as the restoration of "public liberties and democratic institutions". Picasso died in 1973. Franco, ten years Picasso's junior, died two years later, in 1975. After Franco's death, Spain was transformed into a democratic constitutional monarchy, ratified by a new constitution in 1978. However, MOMA was reluctant to give up one of their greatest treasures and argued that a constitutional monarchy did not represent the republic that had been stipulated in Picasso's will as a condition for the painting's return. Under great pressure from a number of observers, MOMA finally ceded the painting to Spain in 1981.
Article Source: Art Knowledge News

Despite protest, despite reason and despite the compassion that we are capable of, war rages on throughout the world. Excuses are many. None explain the horror and suffering. Many speak out for peace and will continue to do so. It seems the next generation will carry that torch, too.

That being said, I truly honor the brave men and women who serve in the Armed Forces. So many have given their lives for their country. Their goal is to defend us from harm. The suffering they have endured cannot be measured by those of us who have never been in battle.
Dirge for Two Veterans
by Walt Whitman

The last sunbeam
Lightly falls from the finish'd Sabbath,
On the pavement here, and there beyond it is looking,
Down a new-made double grave.
Lo, the moon ascending,
Up from the east the silvery round moon,
Beautiful over the house-tops, ghastly, phantom moon,
Immense and silent moon.
I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-key'd bugles,
All the channels of the city streets they're flooding,
As with voices and with tears.
I hear the great drums pounding,
And the small drums steady whirring,
And every blow of the great convulsive drums,
Strikes me through and through.
For the son is brought with the father,
(In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell,
Two veterans son and father dropt together,
And the double grave awaits them.)
Now nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive,
And the daylight o'er the pavement quite has faded,
And the strong dead-march enwraps me.
In the eastern sky up-buoying,
The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin'd,
('Tis some mother's large transparent face,
In heaven brighter growing.)
O strong dead-march you please me!
O moon immense with your silvery face you soothe me!
O my soldiers twain!
O my veterans passing to burial!
What I have I also give you.
The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music,
And my heart,
O my soldiers, my veterans,
My heart gives you love.

My prayer is that one day that will not be our reality, that a peaceful world will exist.

Imagine that.

Guenica~Pablo Picasso

Imagine~John Lennon
Article and poem~Artella Daily Muse

No comments: