There’s still time to see MoMA’s Picasso Sculpture exhibition, which closes on February 7, and seriously, you should. It is the first of its kind in the United States in nearly half a century. Many of these works are on view in the country for the first time, providing an opportunity to explore a rarely seen aspect of Picasso’s long and prolific career.


The exhibition, which features more than 100 sculptures spanning the years 1902 to 1964, exposes a sporadic and episodic play with techniques, materials and approaches to sculpting. Each room represents a unique phase in Picasso’s sculptural life, and works from one room to the next are remarkably and refreshingly unique from one another.


Whereas Picasso was trained in painting, a skill that paid his bills, he was self-taught in his work with sculpture. Kept mostly from the public, these works were largely for his own exploration and curiosity. An often-unknown aspect of Picasso’s life, these were the works that he chose to surround himself with, like companions in his home. This knowledge makes viewing the works more intimate and personal – almost voyeuristic.


In true Picasso form, he broke the rules with new techniques, aesthetics and materials. Working with whatever resources were available to him at the time, he sewed cardboard, welded sheet metal, carved lumberyard scraps, and plastered found objects together. All items were open for reinterpretation.


Picasso’s sculptures became more monumental over time, and his use of negative and abstracted space is just as important as the objects themselves. The exhibition demonstrates a lifetime of innovation as the artist challenged himself and, years later, his viewers. Many of the works are at once intricate, abstract and often delicate. Much like the sharp, playful edges and shapes of Cubism, his sculptural works yield new perspectives and viewpoints – especially as observed from varied angles.


The curatorial approach to the show clearly demonstrated a strong evolution and consistent exploration in Picasso’s career – always redefining his approach to his work and always responding to the world around him. The layout of the pieces gave ample room for visitors to comfortably observe and be at-one with the art, even when the galleries are crowded.


While a limited number of same-day general admission tickets are available for sale onsite on a first-come, first-served basis, the advance purchase of timed tickets is highly recommended.


While we’re talking about Picasso: find out why the fate of a Picasso print is in the hands of 150,000 people who will decide whether to donate or destroy one of his original prints.