Narrator: Picasso created this sculpture of a chair in 1961. Curator Anne Umland:
Anne Umland: If you start to think about it, I mean, a sculpture of a chair in and of itself is kind of an odd, odd thing!
Narrator: Picasso began with a drawing on paper, which he cut out and folded, like origami. A craftsman then transferred the design into sheet metal.
Anne Umland: Techniques that are so simple, things like folding, bending, cutting, contouring. All of those are pretty basic actions. You don't have to go to school to learn them. But then what he does with those simple gestures is something absolutely other.
Try to imagine this chair unfolded. Picasso himself said it looked like a chair run over by a steamroller. This whole idea of a back and forth between things that are two-dimensional and things that are three is so strongly at play in this work.
And I think that the spatial experience of this chair, in fact, is really so remarkable the way it twists and torques and has a movement to it – and even is sort of funny, too. I just think, “How many works of art can make you laugh?” And I think that his sculptures very often do that.