Picasso, strong women and AI: what art has to offer in 2023

"Art washes the dust of everyday life from the soul," Pablo Picasso said.

Picasso, strong women and AI: what art has to offer in 2023

"Art washes the dust of everyday life from the soul," Pablo Picasso said. In 2023, exhibitions around the world will commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death. The art year 2023 is also about strong women, digital arts and the question of how to bring sustainability into museums.

War, the climate crisis and controversy have also burst into art in the past year. It was an intense year with challenging art and many discourses. There was discussion, argument and much talked about. What will be carried into this new year remains to be seen. Sustainability is definitely here to stay. And not just since climate activists launched their attacks on museum icons such as Monet, Picasso and Co. with tomato soup, mashed potatoes and superglue.

It is clear that the energy balance of old buildings cannot be calculated nicely. This is a tightrope walk, especially for outdated CO2 guzzlers, where they can only fall. Another approach: rethinking exhibitions. This is happening now in more and more institutions. Yilmaz Dziewior from the Museum Ludwig in Cologne has been dealing with the topic for a long time and has hired an exhibition curator for ecology.

The Munich House of Art, with Andrea Lissoni at the helm, works sustainably, without further ado uses materials for exhibitions several times or, if possible, has local craftsmen produce them. Now the director has even had the museum's logo changed. A rainbow should symbolize diversity, community, the proximity to the English Garden and the Eisbach, but also sustainability.

A heartless genius, the demon of painting, artist of the century and father of cubism - all this can be found about Pablo Picasso on the worldwide web. Everyone knows his delicately painted dove of peace and his powerful painting "Guernica", an outcry against war and fascism. You can find them millions of times on postcards or posters. Picasso exhibitions draw audiences en masse to museums. April 8th marks the 50th anniversary of the death of the Spanish painter. Reason enough for a worldwide Picassomania. The mega artist is remembered with shows in Spain, France, the USA and Germany. From September 17, the Von der Heydt Museum in Wuppertal will be there with "Pablos Picasso and Max Beckmann - Man, Myth, World". Their works have never been compared together.

In his 91 years of life, Picasso was incredibly productive. In seven decades as an artist he painted in oil, drew, created graphics, collages, sculptures and ceramics. His work is said to encompass a monumental 50,000 works. He tended to have difficult relationships with women. They adored him unreservedly, but also broke at him, committed suicide or succumbed to madness. Only Françoise Gilot left the artist, became an independent artist and wrote the book "Life with Picasso", which fascinates readers to this day. Is Picasso's toxic masculinity an issue in the large number of exhibitions?

Unseen women in art are a constant theme. It's about the lack of equal rights for female artists. Although they have been able to study at the academy for over 100 years, they are still less recognized and paid less than their male colleagues. With her Venice Biennale in 2022, the curator Cecilia Alemani relied on 80 percent works by women and non-binary people. These miraculous creatures sent a lasting signal to the mother of all biennials.

A rethinking is obviously taking place in the museums, because in 2023 there will be a large number of exhibitions with great artists: The Lebanese painter Etel Adnan will lure visitors to the Lenbachhaus in Munich with brightly colored abstraction until the end of February and to the K 20 in Düsseldorf from April. There is also an anniversary of a strong woman in photography: Alice Springs would have been 100 years old. The Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin is worth a big retrospective from June 2nd. Alice Springs is the pseudonym of June Newton, wife of photographer Helmut Newton. Her extraordinary portraits of celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Gerhard Richter or Brigitte Nielsen have their own unique style.

A Venetian star portraitist of the rococo can be discovered by the public in Dresden. "Rosalba Carriera - Perfection in Pastel" can be seen from June 9th in the Old Masters Picture Gallery. Great female artists like Carriera have been overlooked for far too long after their time as men have shaped the way art history is viewed. This also annoyed the English art historian Katy Hessel tremendously. Without further ado, she simply wrote down the history of art without men and made it onto the English bestseller lists with "The Story of Art without Men".

They are like an investment in the future, digital arts have become indispensable. However, with the crypto markets crashing, the hype surrounding NFTs has died down. However, digital art is not necessarily associated with non-fungible tokens, it even has its roots in the last century. In 2023, exhibitions and festivals from Leipzig via Karlsruhe to Essen and Berlin will deal with these historical precursors, classics and the latest developments. In Stuttgart, eight artists such as Hito Steyerl and Louisa Clement want to prove that digital technology is changing the idea of ​​a community in the long term. "Shift. AI and a future community" starts on February 4th at the Kunstmuseum: Artificial intelligence meets artistic intelligence.

Industrial culture meets digital art at the NEW NOW Festival at the Zeche Zollverein from October 27th. The Transmediale in Berlin will be taking place for the 36th time at the beginning of February and is something like the mother of all festivals dealing with art and digital culture. The nice thing about digital art is that borders should be broken down and everyone should be given access to what is technologically state-of-the-art. Go there, try it out and talk, because communication is what art inspires at best.

Last but not least, a (still) small but very desirable trend: free admission to the museum! Because, as Picasso said, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." The directors of art temples want more audiences, want to make art accessible to as many people as possible. Museums are public places, educational institutions where people can meet and exchange ideas. One more reason to remove the payment barrier from time to time. The Haus der Kunst in Munich not only has a new logo, but always opens the doors to art on the last Friday of the month from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. with free admission. The New National Gallery in Berlin can be visited every Thursday from 4 p.m. without payment. The latter is made possible by Volkswagen's cultural commitment ART4ALL. Can I have some more, please. Thanks!

Celebration Picasso 1973-2023, see program here.Transmediale, February 1-5, Academy of Arts, Berlin.