Exploring the Future Trends in Picasso Exhibitions

From 2018 onwards, there has been a debate about the abundance of Picasso exhibitions and the lack of new insights they bring to the artist’s works. However, in 2023, the art world witnessed a surge of exhibitions dedicated to Picasso, marking the 50th anniversary of his death. While these exhibitions celebrate Picasso’s enduring influence on contemporary art, they also raise questions about the relevance and necessity of such showcases. This article will analyze the key points of these exhibitions and offer predictions and recommendations for future trends in the industry.

The Issue of Oversaturation

Claude Picasso, son of Pablo Picasso, expressed concerns in 2018 about too many exhibitions devoted to his father’s works. He worried about the potential damage caused by excessive traveling and the lack of new scholarship offered by these shows. He felt that many people expected to make discoveries that were not delivered, leading to dissatisfaction with the exhibitions.

This concern is valid, considering the omnipresence of Picasso’s art in permanent collection galleries and the frequent appearance of his mid- and late-career works in auctions. Moreover, Picasso-related merchandise fills museum bookstores, pointing to a saturation of Picasso products in the market. Therefore, it begs the question: Do we really need 50 exhibitions to affirm Picasso’s enduring significance?

The Need for New Scholarship

While some exhibitions aimed to shed new light on Picasso’s life and art, they fell short in delivering groundbreaking insights. For example, the exhibition “Picasso in Fontainebleau” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York examined one summer spent by Picasso in France in 1921. Although it explored Picasso’s method of simultaneously creating two major works, it failed to unlock any deep understanding of Picasso’s mind and artistic process.

Similarly, the Guggenheim Museum’s “Young Picasso in Paris” asserted that Picasso’s talent emerged early in his career but showcased only ten works, leaving room for dissatisfaction among visitors. These exhibitions highlight the need for curators to delve deeper into Picasso’s art and provide fresh interpretations rather than reiterating well-known facts about the artist.

Exploring Picasso’s Genius and Identity

Despite the lack of groundbreaking scholarship, some exhibitions offered intriguing perspectives on Picasso. The Met’s exhibition focused on a never-completed commission for Hamilton Easter Field’s Brooklyn home, revealing Picasso’s struggle to reconcile his avant-garde style with the conservative tastes of his patron.

Meanwhile, the Gagosian gallery exhibited Picasso’s identity as an immigrant, curated by art historians Annie Cohen-Solal and Vérane Tasseau. This show attempted to create visual connections between Picasso’s paintings and the Picasso file kept by the Sûreté General, but the lack of captions hindered a thorough understanding of these relationships. Nonetheless, these exhibitions shed light on lesser-known aspects of Picasso’s life and offer potential avenues for future exploration.

The Power of Controversy

One of the most talked-about Picasso shows of the year was “It’s Pablo-matic: Picasso According to Hannah Gadsby” at the Brooklyn Museum. Comedian Hannah Gadsby aimed to expand upon her critique of Picasso’s abusive behavior towards women by placing his art alongside feminist works from the museum’s collection. However, the connections between Picasso and the feminist artists were minimal, highlighting Gadsby’s own emphasis on Picasso within art history.

Reimagining Picasso Exhibitions

Looking towards the future, it is essential to avoid oversaturation and bring fresh perspectives to Picasso exhibitions. Curators should strive to provide new scholarship that expands our understanding of Picasso’s art and life, delving into lesser-known periods and themes. The emphasis should be on uncovering the mysteries of Picasso’s mind rather than reiterating what is already known.

Moreover, exhibitions could explore the influence of Picasso on contemporary artists in a more nuanced way, highlighting connections that go beyond a superficial examination of style. This would emphasize the enduring relevance of Picasso’s art and its impact on subsequent generations.

Recommendations for the Industry

To ensure the continued engagement of audiences and the relevance of Picasso exhibitions, curators should consider the following recommendations:

  1. Focus on in-depth research: Exhibitions should offer new scholarship and insights that go beyond what is already known about Picasso. Curators should explore lesser-known periods, themes, or artistic processes to provide fresh perspectives.
  2. Explore diverse perspectives: Exhibitions should embrace diverse viewpoints, such as examining Picasso’s identity as an immigrant or highlighting the experiences of women in his life. This will add depth and nuance to the understanding of Picasso’s art.
  3. Create meaningful connections: When showcasing Picasso’s influence on contemporary artists, curators should establish genuine connections that go beyond superficial stylistic similarities. This will provide a more profound exploration of Picasso’s enduring impact.
  4. Promote critical discourse: Allow space for critical discussions about Picasso’s problematic personal life and behavior towards women. Exhibitions can confront uncomfortable aspects of Picasso’s legacy while acknowledging his artistic contributions.
  5. Encourage experimentation: Curators should experiment with exhibition formats to break away from traditional showcases. This could include temporary pauses on Picasso-focused exhibitions or collaborations with contemporary artists to explore the intersections between past and present.


The surge of Picasso exhibitions in 2023 ignited debates about the necessity and value of such shows. While some exhibitions fell short in delivering new insights, others provided intriguing perspectives that expanded our understanding of Picasso’s genius and identity. To ensure the future relevance of Picasso exhibitions, curators should focus on original research, diverse viewpoints, meaningful connections, critical discourse, and experimental exhibition formats. By doing so, Picasso exhibitions can continue to engage audiences and contribute to the ongoing discourse surrounding this iconic artist.