Picasso in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Twenty years ago Picasso seemed to be pretty much everyone’s whipping boy -- too misogynist, too modernist, too whatever; ten years ago the Museum of Modern Art devoted two major shows in an attempt to patch up his battered reputation. Finally, The Metropolitan Museum of Art gives the viewers the chance to decide for themselves with this undogmatic exhibit of all the Picassos in the permanent collection. Covering the artist's entire career, the selection is as uneven as the taste of the collectors who donated their prizes, but has some wonderful, little-seen gems, as well as quite a few familiar masterpieces. The first few rooms are dominated by early caricature sketches and Symbolist experiments; a quirky painting called "Erotic Scene" (known as "La Douleur") is a stand-out. A smiling Pablo (who looks about 12) is being fellated by a naked prostitute. In contrast to his beaming pink face and sailor-suit striped jumper, the prostitute's body is tinged with gray and seems to be asphyxiating and going limp with the effort. Blue Period indeed. In the fourth gallery the exhibit reaches its peak, both in terms of eagle-eyed collecting, as well as cohesive groupings of some of Picasso's finest works. A dozen or so exquisite drawings, both in his "classical" and "monster" veins, and Bairritz and Fontainebleau vacation confections fail to distract from a powerful grouping of three 1930s paintings. "Reading at a Table," "The Dreamer" (image, above left), and "Woman Asleep at a Table" are brought together to form a triptych -- all three portraits of the artist’s girlfriend Marie-Therese Walter. In these three works Picasso mixes styles and speed of execution with enviable ease. The black and white "Asleep" and the straight-out-of-hell "Reading" are a study of contrasting approaches to the same subject—bored Marie falling asleep reading. Juxtaposed is the arabesque "Dreamer" -- the decorative flowers and blue and lavender toned body balance the tits and slit subject -- Picasso in full rut on canvas. Sadly for The Met, and the viewer, the eyes and bank accounts of the collectors fall into precipitous decline after this and we are treated to a few more Surrealist inspired bulls, fauns and bifurcated heads. Arcadian scenes and portraits in intaglio and lithography (think Matisse-Light) show an impressive sense of technique, but the lack of any real significant works from the last very fertile decades of Picasso is a mark of the timidity of the collectors, and the museum, not a fault of the artist. It would have been wonderfully fitting and capped out a tremendous exhibition if a few more examples of his Late-Period (and in my opinion some of his greatest achievements as a painter) had been collected by The Metropolitan. This lack is partly redeemed at the end of the show with a room of editions -- a mixed bag from years of changing styles, the highlights of his innovative years as a printmaker. It is a pleasure to stand and survey the seldom-seen-altogether prints and proofs from the 347 and Vollard Suites -- sexy, funny, stupid and always innovative -- everything Picasso was about. - Bradley Rubenstein Mr. Rubenstein is a painter, story teller, and art aficionado.