Picasso: Peace or Freedom Major Exhibition Tate Liverpool 2010. Preliminary international conference 2008. Publication themes Cold War USSR

Lead Research Organisation: Norwich University College of the Arts
Department Name: Research and Knowledge Transfer

Abstract

Picasso's politics mattered because he was an important artist. The last taboo in the study of Picasso is his membership of the Communist Party from 1944 until his death. French/Swiss art dealers sold his pictures to American galleries and collectors. Picasso was able to maintain his millionaire's life style and his PCF integrity.

Picasso's Dove of Peace became the emblem of the Peace Congresses in Wroclaw, Paris, Stockholm, Sheffield and Rome. In 1950 Picasso arrived at Victoria Station in London for the Sheffield Peace Congress. He was detained for twelve hours by Immigration before Penrose secured his release. Picasso never visited England again, not even for Penrose's exhibition of his work at Tate 1960. Also in 1950 Picasso applied for a visa to visit the USA as one of the Partisans for Peace to present the Stockholm Peace Appeal Against Atomic Weapons to the US Congress. His request was refused and he never visited the USA but he became the symbol of the freedom of the artist in the West.

Picasso made a series of History Paintings in the post war period; The Charnel House 1944, Massacre in Korea 1950, War and Peace 1951. War shows the god of war releasing giant bacteria, a reference to the US use of germ warfare in Korea. These murals were criticised in the West as Picasso's least successful paintings. In the East he was criticised for his refusal to take the Cp line on Socialist Realism.

Picasso was a controversial figure in the USSR. Ehrenburg wrote an essay in L'Unita in 1953 on the eve of Picasso's Rome/Milan retrospective in defence of Picasso's artistic freedom Ehrenburg was a cultural ambassador to Western Europe for the USSR. He wrote the novel The Thaw. In November 1956, Picasso signed a letter to the PCF expressing profound anxiety about the suppression of the Hungarian workers' revolt by Russian tanks. Picasso's decision to remain in the PCF after 1956 was divisive. He was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1961. Ehrenburg organised two exhibitions of Picasso's work in Moscow in 1956 and 1963. Ehrenburg's papers are now in the Yad Vashem, 'Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance' Archive in Jerusalem

This exhibition will create a framework of the central figures, the critic's and curator's who wrote about Picasso in those years, whose ideas reflected not only the times in which they lived but also the ideology and politics of their culture. As cultural contacts between artists and art historians in Eastern and Western European have increased in recent years, this study sets out to understand the pressures that have distorted cultures both East and West, during the Cold War 1944 to 1989. Art Historians from North America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation will record the discussions around Picasso within their own cultures - including the contradictions. It is with the contradictions that we will increase understanding.

The Battle for Picasso's Mind, is a quote from Tom Braden in 1994. Braden was the CIA Officer who put together the International Organizations Division, the organisation at the centre of America's cultural Cold War. (Stoner Saunders Who Paid the Piper p.438). The dominant image of the Cold War remains militaristic confrontation between USA and USSR personified by James Bond.

Picasso was also a controversial figure in the USSR. Ehrenburg wrote an essay in L'Unita in 1953 on the eve of Picasso's Rome/Milan retrospective in defence of Picasso's artistic freedom from Socialist Realism. Ehrenburg organised two exhibitions of Picasso's work in Moscow in 1956 and 1963. Ehrenburg wrote the novel The Thaw, which gave its name to an improvement in relations between USA and USSR after Khrushchev's denunciation of Stalin. In November 1956, Picasso signed a letter to the PCF expressing profound anxiety about the suppression of the Hungarian workers' revolt by Russian tanks. Picasso series Rape of the Sabines was painted during the Cuba Missile Crisis 1961.

Publications

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Title Picasso Peace and Freedom, Albertina Vienna 
Description A major exhibition bringing together over 150 works by Picasso from across the world. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact 364,365 people visited the exhibition in Vienna. The opening ceremony was held in the Spanish Riding School for over 1,000 seated guests including the Austrian Minister of Education and Culture, and the British and Spanish Ambassadors. The museum has a sophisticated education department, which organised workshops for primary and secondary schools, and further increasing the impact of the research and exhibition by encouraging structured engagement with students. Education activities and exhibition tours were organised for young people. 
URL http://www.albertina.at/jart/prj3/albertina/main.jart?rel=en&reserve-mode=reserve&content-id=1290780...
 
Title Picasso Peace and Freedom, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art 
Description A major exhibition bringing together over 150 works by Picasso from across the world. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact 252,116 people visited the exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Professor Morris spoke at the opening dinner for 200 guests, which included members of the Danish Government, funders of the Louisiana Museum and Scandinavian museum directors. The museum has a sophisticated education department, which organised workshops for primary and secondary schools, and further increasing the impact of the research and exhibition by encouraging structured engagement with students. Education activities and exhibition tours were organised for young people. 
URL http://www.louisiana.dk/udstilling/picasso-fred-frihed
 
Title Picasso in Palestine 
Description In June 2011 Professor Morris was supported in presenting the research at the `Picasso in Palestine' exhibition by the Outset contemporary art fund. As there are no formal art museums in Palestine the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven) lent Picasso's 'Buste de Femme' 1943 to the International Academy of Art Palestine in Ramallah at which the event was based. The former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority addressed the exhibition as a remarkable occasion for the Palestinians. The response to Professor Morris's lecture and the global reporting of the event demonstrate the extent to which Picasso's politics maintain a serious importance forty years after his death. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact The response to Professor Morris's lecture and the global reporting of the event demonstrate the extent to which Picasso's politics maintain a serious importance forty years after his death. See for instance Aikens, Nick, `Picasso in Palestine.' Frieze Blog, 6 July 2010. http://blog.frieze.com/picasso-in-palestine/ and `Picasso in Palestine', A Prior Magazine, 22 (2011), Ghent for further information. 
URL http://vanabbemuseum.nl/en/programme/detail/?cHash=06f8a684b62ec29a8535f5487a3e9ff1&tx_vabdisplay_pi...
 
Title Picasso: Peace and Freedom, Tate Liverpool 
Description A major exhibition bringing together over 150 works by Picasso from across the world. Presented at Tate Liverpool from 21 May to 30 August 2010; this exhibition reveals a fascinating new insight into the artist's life as a tireless political activist and campaigner for peace, challenging the widely held view of Picasso as creative genius, playboy and compulsive extrovert. This is the first exhibition to examine in depth the artist's engagement with politics and the Peace Movement, and will reflect a new Picasso for a new time. The exhibition provided a timely look at Picasso's work in the Cold War era and how the artist transcended the ideological and aesthetic oppositions of East and West. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact The exhibition attracted more than 95,000 visitors, making it Tate Liverpool's second best-attended exhibition ever. As an example of the economic impact of the research, the exhibition brought direct visitor spend of almost £5 million to the city of Liverpool, in which it was initially presented. Tate Liverpool's education department organised workshops for primary and secondary schools, further increasing the impact of the research and exhibition by encouraging structured engagement with students. In Liverpool children from local primary schools looked at themes of peace and freedom in the visual arts, followed by practical workshops making doves. Education activities and exhibition tours were organised for young people. In Liverpool the painter David Jacques led painting classes based on Picasso's political murals. Over 10,000 education packs were downloaded from the Tate website. (Further information is available by request in the Tate Liverpool Exhibition Report and the Annual Tate Report, 2010-11: Tate Liverpool Exhibition Report.) The exhibition (and its underlying research) aroused interest, discussion and controversy in reviews across the world in newspapers and journals such as the New York Review of Books (25 November 2010) and all the major UK newspapers. A substantial press book from the exhibition is available to view on request to the University. The exhibition was the subject of Alexei Sayle's five-page article in the Sunday Times (16 May 2010), which described his parents' attendance at the postponed 1950 Sheffield Peace Congress at which Picasso spoke. TV and radio coverage included `Night Waves' on BBC Radio 3, `Front Row' and `Today' on Radio 4, and `The Art Show' on BBC2. The project was featured in a case study `Supporting the cultural sector' in the Arts and Humanities Research Council's Annual Report 2010-11 and is one of the UK Research Council's `Productive Economy' case studies. 
URL http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/picasso-peace-and-freedom
 
Description `Picasso Peace and Freedom' was presented at Tate Liverpool, Albertina and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in 2010-11. This major exhibition, curated by Professor Lynda Morris and Dr Christoph Grunenberg, presented a reassessment of the impact of Picasso's politics on his paintings, drawings and sculptures, challenging what has been seen as the artist's lack of engagement with serious politics. 711,905 people visited the three exhibitions, gaining new views of the artist's political engagements with major international developments of the twentieth century and with leaders of countries that remain centres of tension today. As an example of the economic impact of the research, the exhibition brought direct visitor spend of almost £5 million to the city of Liverpool, in which it was initially presented. Please follow the below link to view a complete impact case study for 'Picasso Peace and Freedom' (AH/F018576/1): http://impact.ref.ac.uk/CaseStudies/CaseStudy.aspx? Id=42673 Please note that a summary of the project was also provided, on request, for the AHRC 2014-15 Impact Report.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic,Policy & public services