Picasso Sculpture: Little Owl

I never knew the extent of Picasso’s sculpture output–the focus is typically on his paintings and periods (his changes in style usually tied to a change in mistress/muse). The sense of play, though, of figuring out spatial questions, of turning the creative hand to a different type of “making” to give the brain a break/engage a different side of the brain–all resonated with me as I wandered through the galleries at MoMA’s current Picasso Sculpture exhibit last night.

One piece captured my imagination, a little bronze owl (Little Owl, 1951-52) made from found objects: the iron blade of a hoe for its shield-like spread wings, three nails down its back/wings; a pair of pliers to form a beak; screws to make its spindly legs and claws. Picasso had a pet owl named Ubu, which made me think of Bubo, the mechanical owl from the classic Clash of the Titans film. And Archimedes, Merlin’s talking owl from The Sword in the Stone. The wise Tootsie Pop owl from the “how many licks does it take?” commercial. Hedwig from Harry Potter. I’m partial to owls since they were the hieroglyph for the Egyptian letter “M” which ties into my Book of M myth-making.

All these connections and focused attention to say: this is how a poem often starts in my brain. A line came to me while meditating, the music of which signaled it will probably be a villanelle.