Author: Humphries, Oscar
Date published: June 1, 2010
Apollo's new title-piece isn't really new at all: it debuted in the very first issue of Apollo in 1925, before being replaced by a weighty modernist font during the 1940s. The new design of Apollo, launched in this issue, has more in common with earlier incarnations of the magazine than it does with recent ones. The design adapts to the varied subjects covered in the magazine, the juxtaposition of which should not be jarring but should instead - as with exhibitions, museums and art fairs that champion the old alongside the new - be both intellectually and visually exciting. We can become emotionally attached to the 'look' of a magazine, especially one we've been reading for some time. But given that the basic architecture of this 'nev/ design comes from our own archive, I hope that it will be seen as a return to a simple and clean aesthetic that, like great art and good art magazines, doesn't date.
Picasso is celebrated this year with three major exhibitions - two in museums and one at a commercial gallery. Thus we have chosen to celebrate him on our cover. Moreover, Picasso's Las Meninas (1957) is the first work of art to grace an Apollo cover in some years, marking the revival of a tradition that, like our re-designed title-piece, can be traced back to the birth of the magazine itself.
Until Gertrude Stein's bequest, in 1946, of Picasso's 1905-06 portrait of her, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art didn't have a single Picasso in its collection. Yet although the museum came to Picasso late, it has since embraced the artist, acquiring over 300 pieces. 'Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art' (until 1 August) includes seminal paintings from Picasso's middle and later periods which reinforce the recent reappraisal of his post-cubist work. Meanwhile 'Picasso: The Mediterranean Years', which opens this month at the Gagosian Gallery in London and is co-curated by John Richardson and Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, sheds new light on the sunniest - and perhaps the most productive - years of Picasso's life. The highly political - and politicised - 'Picasso: Peace and Freedom' at Tate Liverpool completes this triptych of exhibitions.
Shows like these blur the boundaries between public and private galleries. Private galleries are staging exhibitions at which little or no material is for sale, while public museums are showing the chattels of some of the world's most ambitious private collectors, such as the renowned architect Peter Marino who is currently showing a selection of his bronzes at the Wallace Collection (until 25 July) . The landscape is certainly changing, and often for the better.
Picasso's life and oeuvre link the 19th and 20th centuries: his earlier work is rooted in Mannerist, Symbolist, Impressionist and Pre-Raphaelite traditions, yet he lived long enough to witness the American Abstract-Expressionists, and later the Pop-Artists, come to dominate the landscape of contemporary art. Nowadays, far from being consigned to history, Picasso's work continues to incite debate and invite re-analysis. He is therefore the perfect Apollo cover star.
Oscar Humphries, Editor