The New Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

The American photographer Luis Gispert has reinterpreted Pablo Picasso’s ground breaking work, the Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

There are similarities apart from the positions taken by the models too. Picasso painted prostitutes from a French brothel, and Gispert hired his models from a popular soft porn website (suicidegirls.com).

luis gispert's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

The photographer says “I think if you go to the website it’s much more shocking. Picasso did a painting of a brothel that he visited and abstracted the women and made them pretty ugly. In a sense websites are virtual brothels. That was the connection that I saw. It was making that leap; these virtual sex rooms are similar to what was happening a century ago.”

The version above is just a detail of Luis Gispert’s version of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (Senoritas Suicidio). See the full version at the Saatchi Gallery website.

Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon It’s part of a new exhibition by the British collector and gallery owner Charles Saatchi. It also shows a change in the type of artists that he now collects.

Not so long ago Saatchi was one of the largest supporters of young British artists like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. The British collector now seems to be looking abroad for interesting new art.

In an article published in the Guardian, Saatchi said, “The era of Damien, the Chapmans and Sarah Lucas has had its golden age. I used to buy lots, but in the past five years I haven’t. This year I’ve bought one artist out of Goldsmiths, nothing from Chelsea. America is now as exciting as Britain was in the early Nineties.” Charles Saatchi

Other new artists in the upcoming “USA Today” exhibition can also be seen on the Saatchi Gallery website. USA Today will open on the 6th of October at the Royal Academy of Arts in Britain.

See a larger version of the famous Picasso painting.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.

Comments

  1. Art News Blog, what do you think of this idea of redoing a work by a famous artist? Would the picture be as interesting if it were a pure original work?

  2. Personally, I don’t think the Gispert’s piece is that interesting to begin with, original or not. The idea was good but I don’t think the artist pulled it off. Picasso’s piece is meant to be crude and honest, not graceful at all. He got quite a reaction out of it. Perhaps if Gispert had his models spread their legs open as such in Picasso’s original, the piece might be viewed as more pornographic in nature and cause a little more controversy and thus interest. Instead he took a safe and a more aesthetically pleasing approach to the artwork, completely negating Picasso’s initial intent. Essentially, Gispert took a historically controversial artwork and tamed it down…really, that’s no fun for anybody.

  3. Hi Karl
    Good to see you writing on your blog again ;-)

    On this particular work by Luis Gispert, I probably agree with Sara. It’s a tame version of the original. The most interesting connection is that the models are from a well known soft porn website, and the models used by Picasso were prostitutes.

    But in general I think reinterpreting works by famous artists is a great idea. I don’t do it as much lately, but I used to do it a lot.

    It’s a bit like doing a portrait of a person; you get to know that person a lot better, inside and out. I do it to get to know an artist better.

    It’s also a nice way to pay homage to an artist you like.

    A copy or an interpretation is always inferior in my opinion. I have a romantic idea of what art is though, so I’m sure others might think differently.

    Dion

  4. Finally Saatchi wakes up to the reality of the Cul de Sac that most BritArt is stuck up. Gispert’s work invites comparison with Picasso’s and comes off badly in the process… but if you look at it on it’s own merits it could make an excellent page for a calendar promoting oils or tyres (July or August i think) for the lads at the local garage. Maybe it’s time the public wakes up to the reality that Mr Saatchi is a very good advertising man but not quite so wonderful as a judge of fine art.

  5. Two examples of redoing earlier work in a different medium were recently to be found at the Guggenheim and the Whitney in NYC. At the Guggenheim, there was a George Segal representation, in his distinctive style, of a Picasso Cubist painting,
    The Whitney showed, I am afraid the name of the artist has just dropped out of my mind in what we elders call a senior moment, a three dimensional, real billiard table,set up to match exactly to replicate the famous Man Ray surrealist billiard table pointing to the sky.
    Somewhat differently, the current exhibition in the drawing galleries of MOMA demonstrates how various artists of different generations have made use of similar patterns, such as concentric circles, nude standing, linear geometric shapes, and the like.
    Whether either of the first two, which fit the model of Gispert’s work was worth the effort, is a matter of judgment. They did not seem to evoke much of a response from those I observed viewing them, nor did my own response rise above a rather indifferent hmmmm.
    I should mention that the Gispert’s effort was already ancient on the stage when Picasso painted the girls in the bawdy house.
    I should think most artists and students of art, amateur or professional, would take the position that one medium never equates to a different one any more than one language can ever exactly be translated to another. In fact, the more literary the work, it being supremely true of poetry, the less well does the translation work.
    The son, a good friend, of one of my mentors many years ago, had some funny stories to tell (though the situation was not at all funny) of his scholar-playwright father who was feeding and housing the family by translating American novels into Italian. Neither was his native language.

  6. This is almost funny. The people posting on this site in Picasso’s “defense” are as much of art snobs as the crowd Picasso was pushing against. In other words, the opinions are so conformed that they are hardly opinions at all. Maybe later on people will catch up and be able to view this piece of art differently.
    By the way when did we start considering porn as an art form. Are we aiming for a pornographic nature? Is this the game we played as five year olds rolling in laundry, “Oh, I shocked you!”
    Perhaps we’re in a new rut. Are we so stuck in art not being aesthetically pleasing that “beauty” or “grace” causes indifference? Funny, I always thought that art was SUPPOSED to move you. Indifference is for the dead.

  7. I would say that the idea is taken completely out of context. Much of Avignon was about geometric figures, the grotesqueness of the women, and it dared people to look at it. This one invites people to look at it because the women are naked but not subversive. Also, much of picasso’s work was through a colonized lense. Although I see some differentiation with skin coloring, the effect is rather dim.

    Try again next time.

  8. Darth Wahl says:

    Honestly, I haven’t read any of the other posts here, because I want to give you my honest opinion in full, so I apologize if I repeat something already said.

    Honestly, Picasso’s piece had much more work put into it. You can find the galleries online that show many of his concept sketches which eventually led to his “ground-breaking” piece. Originally, there was to be a doctor and a sailor in the picture, which art historians have come to interpret as Picasso‚Äôs attempt to show the grotesqueness of STD which were just being discovered at the time (by contrasting sex-crazed sailor in a brother with a well-informed doctor). So as far at the photographer goes with this piece…well, it’s a similar composition and slightly similar texture, but it fails entirely in trying to emulate or even update that message of the original piece.

    My next beef comes with the website from which he hired the models. Suicide Girls.com is not your average soft-core porn site. It transcends the mere label of “whacking material” by laying claim to the phrase “Redefining beauty one naked girl at a time.” Their website is not a “digital brothel” as it were, but rather a site in which the identity of the models put center stage, and the standard stigma’s regarding pornography are hardly even applicable. The artist has failed in their supposed attempt to reincarnate Picasso’s painting from nearly every angle possible. As previously stated, it is simply the composition and (barely) the texture that bridge the gap.

    The style of this shot however is indeed intriguing, and I would like to see more done with the strange water texture, and the human form. To the artist: if you are trying to make a statement about porn-sites being digital brothels, then find a site other than the most inappropriate one you picked. I understand that out of all the sites out there, Suicide Girls is most likely to have models that would be willing to pose for you outside of their contract to the site, but I think if you had spent the extra effort, then you would have made a successful piece. Better luck next time.

  9. Yeah, it doesn’t even come close to Picasso’s work on so many levels Darth, but there’s no harm in paying homage to a favorite artist.

    There’s nothing ground breaking about the photograph, unlike the painting, but that doesnt make it a bad photo either. Its just a harmless homage to an important painting, with some pretty girls in it to make it a little more interesting (for guys).

  10. Anonymous says:

    I liked it,The texture of the female forms emerging from water is a positive rendition of the Old Master (But of coarse, less to the imagination.

  11. Anonymous says:

    where is the basket of fruits? or just fruits, that’s an important symbol in the original, i agree with all the comments

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