“Even Carl Djerassi, one of the inventors of the Pill […] has suggested that all forms of birth control will eventually become obsolete and the Pill “will end up in a museum.” In his imaginings, girls and boys will deposit their eggs and sperm in a reproductive bank to be frozen at 20 or so and then get sterilized. They’ll want to do this because genetic diagnoses of embryos will become increasingly sophisticated, and no one will want to risk having a child with birth defects, let alone a child of an unpreferred gender or one predisposed to a hairy back. When these people want to have children, either one or six, at 30 or 60 years old, they’ll make a withdrawal from the bank.”—
Despite Pablo Picasso’s reputation as an undisputed genius of modern European art, his brash later works have traditionally received little love from collectors. This may be because the pieces—composed from 1960 until his death in 1973—were long considered, as critic Douglas Cooper once noted, “incoherent doodles done by a frenetic dotard in the anteroom of death.” Their unsubtle portrayal of sex suggested to others that they were the aging artist’s way of coping in the days before Viagra. For decades, many sold in the low six figures.
In the past two years, though, these large, bright, and loud works have become sensations. In a perfect marriage of questionable taste and label snobbery, newly wealthy Chinese collectors are flocking to late Picassos and helping drive prices to unprecedented levels. What’s the allure? Well, they’re large, bright, and loud—and, of course, they were painted by Picasso. “There is something about these works that definitely appeals to the Chinese,” says Ken Yeh, Christie’s Asia chairman. “Many of the late Picassos are very colorful and big in scale. In Asia, they generally prefer larger paintings. Size does matter.”
There’s also a larger aesthetic reappraisal playing out in the background. In the past few years, some scholars have begun viewing the violent brushstrokes and disorderly compositions that characterize Picasso’s later works as akin to popular midcentury trends such as abstract expressionism, Pop art, and even graffiti. Christie’s Bertazzoni notes the similarities between late Picassos and increasingly popular contemporary Chinese paintings, particularly in the use of caricature and a subliminally disenchanted political tone.
I love that the start of this article is like “the Chinese collectors are too stupid to know this is the late, bad Picasso” and then sqeezes in this paragraph that points out that “well, late Picasso is actually being reappraised in light of other artistic developments and also of stuff that’s happening in Chinese painting.”
“Let’s talk about rape for a moment. Rape is not what George Lucas did to your childhood. Rape is not what happens when a sports team beats another sports team by a wide margin. Rape is not what happens when your electric bill is higher this month than it was last month. Rape is when a person violates another person in the most despicable, degrading way imaginable and among the myriad of terrible things humans can do to one another, rape is among the worst. I think the casual misappropriation of the concept of rape extending all the way to its widespread comical usage is disgusting even by Internet standards. Off my chest.”—