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How Picasso Bled the Women in His Life for Art

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Cody Delistraty, writing for The Paris Review:

    Sixteen years ago, Marina Picasso, one of Pablo Picasso’s granddaughters, became the first family member to go public about how much her family had suffered under the artist’s narcissism. “No one in my family ever managed to escape from the stranglehold of this genius,” she wrote in her memoir, Picasso: My Grandfather. “He needed blood to sign each of his paintings: my father’s blood, my brother’s, my mother’s, my grandmother’s, and mine. He needed the blood of those who loved him.”

    After Jacqueline Roque, Picasso’s second wife, barred much of the family from the artist’s funeral, the family fell fully to pieces: Pablito, Picasso’s grandson, drank a bottle of bleach and died; Paulo, Picasso’s son, died of deadly alcoholism born of depression. Marie-Thérèse Walter, Picasso’s young lover between his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, and his next mistress, Dora Maar, later hanged herself; even Roque eventually fatally shot herself.“Women are machines for suffering,” Picasso told Françoise Gilot, his mistress after Maar. After they embarked on their affair when he was sixty-one and she was twenty-one, he warned Gilot of his feelings once more: “For me there are only two kinds of women: goddesses and doormats.” Marina saw her grandfather’s treatment of women as an even darker phenomenon, a vital part of his creative process: “He submitted them to his animal sexuality, tamed them, bewitched them, ingested them, and crushed them onto his canvas. After he had spent many nights extracting their essence, once they were bled dry, he would dispose of them.”

    I read this piece this morning and it’s full of things I definitely didn’t learn in art history courses. Then I saw Jason Kottke’s comments on it:

    [M]assive chunks of our culture [have] been created by specific men who abuse women but also that so-called “Western culture” in its entirety has been marked and in many ways defined by systemic and institutionalized misogyny that has chewed up women for art and discarded them en masse. Never mind your fave is problematic…the whole damn culture is problematic. This aspect of the creation of culture has been largely written out of history, but going forward, it’s going to be important to write it back in.

    Yep. That’s a perfect way to sum up how I feel.

  2. kylethrash


    Woah. Wild.
  3. justin.

    Trusted Supporter

    It’s important to note that women are treated the same in Eastern countries like China, Japan, and India. The problem didn’t begin with western culture and won’t end with it. One thing I do see positively in western culture is that it’s a larger outrage here because it’s a topic of discussion. Unlike Western culture where politics are attempting to change it, society in many Asian countries do not see it as a problem and it’s not a discussion. Women there are comfortable with their positions in society and to many of them the idea that progressives in the West present to them are non-traditional, radical, and make them feel like they are causing unneeded tensions in their family life. Feminism in Japan? It’s almost non-existent. Western culture, at times, feels the most progressive as weird as it currently seems.
    Analog Drummer and AllenRicketts like this.
  4. Yellowcard2006


    If I owned any of his original art I'd throw it out, never really was a fan.
  5. nfdv2

    Trusted Prestigious


    i have no words

    white people with barely passing and highly biased familiarity with non-western cultures should shut the fuck up about things they don't know shit about and white feminism can go die
  6. justin. Nov 12, 2017
    (Last edited: Nov 12, 2017)

    Trusted Supporter

    Never mind that I’ve actually spent time outside of the States and have talked to many of my eastern friends about this along with the current state of politics. Instead of saying “shut the fuck up” why don’t you just discuss what you disagree with? Or continue with the hostility and don’t. Wanting to end sexism involves knowing the countries on Earth where it’s 1) most prevalent 2) harder to end it

    Read some (this won’t be exactly on point to some stories I’ve been told, but a lot of the articles are relevant and recent).

    Sexism in China: where women are second class citizens

    Japan drops by three to 114th in gender equality rankings by World Economic Forum | The Japan Times

    India falls 21 places in global gender equality report, ranks 108 in 144-nation list


    “There is a Chinese saying that ‘the less trouble the better (多一事不如少一事),’ especially when it comes to other people’s family affairs,” explained Cecilia Xu.”

    Hard times for feminists in China - SupChina

    “In the U.S., this likely would have been treated as a straightforward case of employment discrimination. In China, it earned her a visit from the police. Since the spring, authorities have threatened her, contacted her parents and harassed her landlord who, in March, evicted her from her apartment.”

    In China, feminism is growing — and so is the backlash

    “At the other end of the scale, Saudi Arabia - where women are well educated but are banned from driving and only won the right to vote in 2011 - polled second-worst after India“
    Canada best G20 country to be a woman, India worst: poll
  7. nfdv2 Nov 21, 2017
    (Last edited: Nov 21, 2017)

    Trusted Prestigious

    late reply but

    thank you for the sources + sorry for the hostility. that was embarrassing of me.

    I'm going to try to clarify my initial post. my main point of disagreement was not with your pointing out that some cultures are more hostile to women than to others, but what seemed to me was your generalizing and assuming (either without basis or based on a few distant anecdotes) how women within the culture feel about the culture (that they are comfortable with their "standing", that western progressive ideas are radical and unfamiliar, etc.), thus reducing a vast range of experiences, emotions, and the nuanced consequences of institutional structures in one giant sweep and also furthering a longstanding and harmful stereotype of asian women as passive, submissive, naive, etc. at best it came off as careless reasoning with racist undertones.

    you can certainly make broad claims about the cultural climate of a country and hence answer questions such as "where is sexism most prevalent?". but making the claim that dissatisfaction isn't widely felt or that certain conversations aren't taking place is a stronger claim about how people feel about their cultural experiences and it entails deep familiarity with the culture in question and extensive direct dialogue with the people whom the culture impacts, imo. for all you know, these conversations could be taking place, just not in a way that is visible to you, from your specific vantage point.

    and then even assuming you've somehow gained enough familiarity to confidently talk about how the majority of women in a particular climate feel about particular issues, it's yet another step to generalize those points to most or all asian countries.
  8. harlototerror


    He was no genius, he was an opportunist.