It's surprising an exhibit hasn't been done on Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp before, since the rift between the two modern masters is the stuff of legend. In a new show in Stockholm, the two icons of the modernist movement will be pitted against each other. "Picasso/Duchamp: He Was Wrong" will be on view at the Modern Museet this month until early next year. The exhibit's title draws from one such: upon hearing of Duchamp's death, the story goes that Picasso said only, "He was wrong."
"Picasso despised him," biographer John Richardson told The Times Higher Education in 1996, speaking of the last decade of the Cubist painter's life. Though Picasso spent much of that era bemoaning the rise of new art gods -- Jackson Pollock among them -- his special resentment for Duchamp was drawn on philosophical lines. Ever the stylist, Picasso loved the visual arts so much he famously wished for an existence sans brains, powered by "only our eyes." On the other end was the cerebral Duchamp, whose unabashed factory line philosophy for art-making, and preference for riddles, attacked the very foundation of the field. Duchamp tellingly left the art world to devote his life to chess.
Visitors to the Moderna exhibit will encounter Picasso's 1912 collage, Bottle Glass, Violin, and Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel, which was created a year later. LaPresse reports on the blown-up images of Picasso wearing a bull mask juxtaposed with Duchamp covered in shaving cream, making for an absurd battle of the egos. The displays comprise the museum's sizeable Duchamp collection, as well as Picassos loaned from Sweden, Denmark, France and Switzerland, according to ArtDaily. We can't say who'll win the fight, but we're hoping the museum lets us bring popcorn.
Who will win this contentious clash of approaches: paintbrush vs. readymade?
See a slideshow of Duchamp's oeuvre below: