Picasso comes to Richmond’s VMFA

February 19, 2011

By Elise Chretien, Saquoia Freeman, and Mark Newton
Multimedia Journalism Masters Program

line.jpgOver 3,000 people flocked to the opening of the Pablo Picasso exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday, February 19. The exhibit features 176 works from Picasso’s own personal collection assembled during the artist’s lifetime, according to Robin Nicholson, the VMFA’s deputy director for art and education, adding, “It’s the finest collection of Picasso’s work in the world.”

The museum is the exhibit’s only stop on the East Coast in its
seven-city tour, originally from the Musée National Picasso, Paris.
During that museum’s renovations, the art will go on its first and
possibly only global tour, according to VMFA employee Patrick Bingham.
Or, as visitor Wayne Kent put it, “It’s a once in a lifetime thing to
see Picasso. It’s cheaper than going to France.”

The exhibit also shows off a number of social media innovations for the
museum. A VMFA press release notes that the exhibit is advertised with a
poster of Picasso’s face made with Quick Response (QR) codes, which,
when scanned by a smartphone, forwards the user to http://www.picasso-vmfa.com/one,
a special section of the VMFA’s Facebook page. The posters can be found
on the side of To The Bottom and Back buses and outside 33 Starbucks
locations in Richmond.

In a press release,
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell praised the VMFA’s efforts to bring
Picasso to the city. “I encourage all our citizens and those outside the
Commonwealth to come visit Virginia’s museum and enjoy the Picasso
exhibition,” adding that his art is “a remarkable gift to all Virginians
and Americans.”

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Picasso’s art is clearly a hit with those who showed up on opening day,
like art student Linda Simmons. “I studied Picasso,” she said, “and this
opportunity to see this much of his work in one location is pretty rare
and amazing. I really appreciate his work; he was the father of modern
art. He really took it to new boundaries. As an art appreciation person,
he’s really worth seeing.”

Likewise, there are some who are relishing the opportunity to see his
work again, like Sandy Foroobar. “I went to the museum in Paris with the
kids,” she exclaimed, “so I’m really excited to see some of the same
stuff now.”

For those who couldn’t make the exhibit’s opening, the VMFA will host
the collection until May 15, and is open seven days a week at 10 a.m.
until 5 p.m., or 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Tickets cost $20 for
adults, $16 for everyone else, and free for members and children under
six.  Call (804) 340-1405 to reserve tickets, or go to http://www.vmfa.museum.