Shaped canvas

My claim, in the previous post, that Picasso invented the shaped canvas might raise a few brows. But what is this mythic Cubist installation? Or rather, what side of it is more important, the plane from which it emerged, the assemblage, or the ready-made? But then the beauty of Cubism is that so many possibilities are there, in nuce.

Pablo Picasso, Installation/photo construction Guitarist at a café table 1913

Does this piece break out of the frame toward Degas’s Ballerina, or toward the future—say Stella’s Exotic Birds? When we think of shaped canvases we don’t think of works like this, but of Stella, Richard Tuttle, Elizabeth Murray. The problem is the word canvas, which we can easily forget means “pictorial support.”

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