Born in 1955 in Paris as Joseph, Professor Pepe Karmel, president of the scientific committee of Congress and professor of Art History at New York University, the name was castellanized in memory of a fantastic trip that his parents made in Spain, although he is unaware of the Spanish. With several works of reference on Picasso and with dozens of lectures on the artist given in forums around the world, today inaugurates the Congress on Picasso and History.
Question. Thirty-three exhibitions on Picasso in 2018, four major Picasso museums (Paris, Antibes, Barcelona and Malaga) plus the fifth to be opened by Catherine Hutin, daughter of Jacqueline, his last wife, in Aix-en Provence in 2021. Do not you think Is there an abuse of Picasso's name?
Answer. On the one hand goes the superstar, the myth, and on the other the genius that is Picasso. It can harm you to the extent that people care more about their lives, their women, their money. We must go beyond his celebrity and experts have the obligation to stick to the work of the artist, not the famous.
P. The theme of the Congress is History. Was Picasso a painter of history?
R. It does not paint episodes, but allegories. For example, the dancers of July 14, a patriotic date in France, but also of the French Revolution with all its violence. It also deals with the class struggle with paintings like the ironer or even those of sick and isolated prostitutes in the hospital
P.: On the subject of prostitutes and the artist's relationship with women, there are many critical feminists with Picasso.
R. I do not see it that way. In the paintings of prostitutes there is a compassionate look. Or in The Avignon ladies I see a celebration of female sexuality. When one thinks that she portrayed Dora Maar crying cruelly, there are two versions: the one that says that she enjoys her suffering and that of those who think that she looks at her in awe. I believe the latter.
P. There are those who have criticized Picasso for not stepping on Spain during the war.
R. He was in France and was not an expert in politics. There was no need for it. Many things have been said without foundation. But look at what happened to Lorca. If it comes to come, it may have happened the same. The important thing is that he created a language for the left that remains universal.