Alejandro H. Rodriguez-Giovo

Alejandro H. Rodriguez-Giovo

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More Skeletons in Picasso’s Cupboard

November 29, 2010

As if mankind were not beset with enough inescapable catastrophes – earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, drought, plagues – and self-inflicted ones, such as war, famine and exploitation, an additional, unforeseeably cruel calamity has made headline news today in the Spanish newspaper El País. A “treasure trove” (to quote the paper’s savagely sarcastic terminology) of 270 hitherto unknown, late Picasso works has been exposed (mercifully not yet exhibited, though one fears the worst) in France. This devastating blow to the world of art would be comparable, in the medical field, to the Pasteur Institute stumbling across 270 new deadly strains of virus on the verge of mass dissemination.

Barceló's coagulated goo being spewed on UN dome

Do we learn nothing from history? Did not the barbaric bombing of Guernica in 1937 and its frightful pictorial legacy suffice as a warning to future generations? Does Barceló’s blood-curdling dome in the “Chamber for Human Rights and for the Alliance of Civilizations” not serve its purpose of daily reminding the world’s delegates in Geneva’s United Nations headquarters of the depraved refinement with which human beings can perpetrate aesthetic atrocities on each other?

Let us pray that the French authorities are endowed with the decisiveness, courage and competence to isolate this sinister outbreak of posthumous Picassos in a secure environment – such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, if the Spanish state honourably accepts some moral accountability for the disaster – where only hardened masochists risk being exposed to it.