Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective

May 16–Sep 30, 1980


This landmark presentation of the work of Pablo Picasso marked the first time in its history that MoMA dedicated the entirety of its 53rd Street headquarters to the works of a single artist. The museum loaned some 230 works from its permanent collection to other institutions in order to make room in the galleries for nearly 1,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages, prints, ceramics, and costume and theater designs drawn from 152 public and private collections all over the world. The exhibition attracted more than a million visitors—requiring the museum to nearly triple its security staff and construct an additional water tower to maintain climate control—and ushered in a new era of blockbuster exhibitions. Reflecting on the scale of the exhibition, curator William Rubin reasoned, “More than a great artist, Picasso was a phenomenon... There is virtually nothing in modern art that Picasso has not invented, practiced, or at least influenced.”



Installation images

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