The fiftieth anniversary of the death of the pioneering Spanish artist Pablo Picasso began a day early, at least in the pages of The Guardian. On April 7, 2023—Picasso, you see, died on April 8—the arts editor Alex Needham posted an article titled “‘Notoriously cruel’: should we cancel Picasso?” The imperial “we” stood for a bevy of artists, curators, critics, and collectors who chimed in with their respective two cents. “The lurid radicality of his art,” wrote the art historian Eliza Goodpasture, “rests on a wanton disregard for the humanity of the women he painted and slept with.” Aindrea Emelife, a curator at Lagos’s Edo Museum of West African Art, chided Picasso’s “simplistic” take on African sculpture but noted that “as a source of inspiration, it made for great art.” The...


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