Picasso, Africa, longevity, and what makes a “real” city.

Montreal summers are nothing if not hot and humid. The buildings are old and heavy and the St. Lawrence River threading alongside is wide enough and deep enough to swallow Atlantis.i But all the same, it has some things to teach us about Picasso, Africa, longevity, and what makes a “real” city. In pics and f-notes :

Picasso and Africaii

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What makes a “real” cityiv

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  1. Unlike the last two summers when we visited, I decided to ditch the Airbnb strategy for good ol’ fashioned hotels this time ’round. Tired of being ripped off by young black guys posing as middle-aged white men offering “air-conditioned” suites that have no more than 3 floor fans (true story!), it was time to give the pros another shot. And would you believe that the pros shone like a million dazzling stars in the sky ? Blackout blinds so that little ones can sleep till 10am ? Check. Real A/C so that everyone can sleep at least 8 hours straight ? Check. A gym with a pool, a full kitchen, and breakfast included ? Check, check, and check! There’s a time and a place for Airbnb, but I tell ya, it’s a huge gamble when it comes to family holidays, which are already complicated enough, especially when air travel is involved. 
  2. About 25% of the supporting text accompanying the art pieces in the exhibit “D’Afrique aux Amériques : Picasso en face-à-face, d’hier à aujourd’hui” at the Musée Des Beaux-Arts Montréal was of the entirely vomit-inducing “post-pre-de-colonial” hurr durr, but swimming around those mental land mines yielded an entirely unique explorative inquiry into the parallels between Pablo Picasso’s mid- to late-career oeuvre and the ethnographic curios that constituted a significant part of the modernist marvel’s personal collection from the days before Africa was au courrant for all the wrong reasons.

    The art pieces seen here, top-to-bottom, are :

    – Nude on a White Background (1927) by Pablo Picasso, a surrealist portrait of his first wife Olga
    – Bust of a Woman (1931) by Pablo Picasso, a distorted sculpture of his mistress Marie-Thérèse
    – Large Still Life with Pedestal Table (1931) by Pablo Picasso, a surrealist portrait of his mistress Marie-Thérèse
    – Antennas and Memes IV, VI, IX, X, XIV (2016) by Masimba Hwati, a post-modernist collection of “spears” that spoke to me for its incorporation of a badminton shuttle
    – Head of a Musketeer (Cardinal Richelieu?) (1969) by Pablo Picasso, a portrait from near the very end of his prolific career

    And I just love this Picasso quote : “Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with those not sufficiently prepared. yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.” If Contravex strives for anything other than being my personal diary, it’s to fulfill this definition of art.

    The exhibition is on until (at least) September 16, 2018. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was held over.

  3. The house in the background of the top photo is, of course, the one and only Round House. What feels like only yesterday was in fact six years ago, when the mighty SRT8 392 was right in front where the ol’ Subie now sits… where the blondie-from-left-field chases his uncle.

    The second photo is of the interior. Did you notice the African masks ?

    The third is of the boys and their now-90-year-old great-grandfather. Pretty good genes, eh ? He looooved the Visinata we brought him for his birthday. It was at least on par with the superlative Schmettentorte my mother made for him. Some gifts just can’t be bought, y’know ?

  4. Well ? BIXI Bikes, benches, and public fountains certainly don’t hurt! Cosplay conventions add a bit of colour too. I mean, wouldja check out the entirely hand-knit Zelda costume! That’s dedication. Fo’ realz.

    The bikes, if not only useful for residents with little storage space and tourists on-the-go, also make fantastically impromptu amusement rides for little boys. So what if there are hardly any playgrounds in central Montreal ?

    And benches are just a pleasant place to take a load off after pounding the cobblestones all morning, noon, and night!

3 thoughts on “Picasso, Africa, longevity, and what makes a “real” city.

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