Thursday, June 4, 2009

Looking for Picasso & goodby little grasshopper

Tête de trois quarts (Head in Three-Quarter View), 1907 (Haas collection, not on view)

After listening to the Mellon lectures on Picasso, I went looking for his work in San Francisco’s very own museums. Although they often tout themselves as world class, Picasso’s works are pretty scarce. The Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts has a decent selection of his graphic works but good luck in getting an appointment to view them. SF Moma owns thirteen works but only one, a rather unimpressive 1944 still life, is on view. If I hadn't seen Picasso's works in other locations, I would have a hard time believing the hype, given the lack of significant works on display in our local museums.

What a sad end to a fascinating life. I remember being fixated on Kung Fu when I was a teenager and when Carradine's character (FINALLY) made love to a woman, I nearly fainted with the excitement. I realize now that the philosophy was cheesy and the acting probably not very good but that show had a profound effect on me. The Chinese were not portrayed as idiotic stereotypes, speaking pigin English and my idealistic young heart appreciated that. I've never wanted to rewatch the show because some things should just remain sacred, especially when you've watched them on the cusp of puberty. Nothing will grab your heart (or hormones in quite the same way) but I've been fascinated by China ever since. He made a couple of good movies about the depression, "Boxcar Bertha", with his then lover, Barbara Hershey and another about Woody Guthrie, but his career had more that its share of ups and downs. I never, in a thousand years, could have imagined that he'd end up dead in a Bangkok hotel. His family had plenty of demons as well as talent in their heritage and I guess that they caught up with him at the end.


Sheree Rensel said...

David Carradine's death took me aback too. I thought some of the same things. Although it still unclear what happened and the true clause of his death is unclear, I felt even sadder because he was such a great actor. To die alone with such mystery surrounding his death seems so unfitting for such a wonderful man. It is such a tragedy.

namastenancy said...

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that he was murdered. The police don't seem to be interested in a real investigation and, from what I read, his family is getting all kinds of conflicting reports. I hate to see his legacy tarnished and I suppose we will never know the truth. I'm just going to remember his iconic Caine and the powerful movies he made about the Depression.