“Picasso’s One-Liners”

Okay, this third short, shallow book review is a cheat: “Picasso’s One-Liners” doesn’t really require any reading.  Instead, it’s a collection of drawings by Picasso, each consisting of a single stroke of the pen (or pencil, or crayon, or whatever).  Many of these are truly wonderful: a man holding a banjo sits on a stool while his partner stands beside him holding a violin; a clown balances a spinning plate on a stick while leading a horse around the ring; a bull’s head is seen in profile, three-quarter and full view; a dancer holds a pose.  Interspersed with these pictures are mundane quotations taken from Picasso’s writings; I’m particularly irritated that both

If you know exactly what you’re going to do, what’s the point of doing it?

and

What one does is what counts and not what one had the intention of doing.

appear; similarly

If a work of art cannot live always in the present it must not be considered at all.

and

My old paintings don’t interest me anymore, I’m much more curious about those I haven’t painted yet.

seem to have some irreconcilable tension.

The book also contains a short introduction by Susan Grace Galassi that provides some interesting historical details and context.

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