Election Post-Mortem — Courtesy of Pablo Picasso
(Soon to be a major documentary?)
America dodged a bullet, or worse, last night, in a battle between dull grey compromising Democrats and the extreme belligerent threats and forces that Republicans deployed against women, against people who work for a living, and against African-Americans — if you don’t believe that, you didn’t see the shock troops that Republicans sent out to intimidate blacks from voting, all in the name of fighting voter fraud.
The most welcome defeats were handed by the voters to Todd (Legitimate Rape) Akin of Missouri and Joe (Rape is God’s Will) Mourdock of Indiana. If these men hadn’t spoken their minds, each might be a US Senator in January. Thank God that some zealots just can’t suppress their inner thoughts.
We can only hope, in this era of everyone filming anything, that some enterprising documentarian is making a film about the rise and fall (at least for now) of the rape rationalizers.
In the meantime, you can find a serendipitous observation at Sotheby’s in tomorrow’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern Art. It is a scene of violent aggression by Pablo Picasso – Le Viol (The Rape) – from 1940 — a drawing in black and white that did not make it into the extraordinary Picasso Black and White exhibition on view at the Guggenheim through January 23. Serendipitous also because the auction was originally scheduled to happen before the election.
Note the date. Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 (with plenty of help from his then-ally Josef Stalin), and Picasso was already, if not a refugee from fascist Spain, an exile from the country where he had once been appointed director of the Prado. Just a few years before, Picasso painted Guernica – now being filmed by director Carlos Saura, with a cast starring Antonio Banderas.. Was Picasso alluding to the broader newer disasters of war – the rape of Poland?
Alongside the contemporary references in Picasso’s image of violence are allusions to the depiction of rape in art history, in endless variations on the Rape of the Sabines and the Slaughter of the Innocents. Take your enemies at their word, the picture suggests.