Editor's Note

Covers of Tate Etc. issue 42: Spring 2018

‘I am influenced by everybody ... every time I put my hands in my pockets I find someone else's fingers there.’ This evocative quotation, attributed to Édouard Manet, was made popular by fellow artist Willem de Kooning when, in a conversation in 1972, he talked about how readily he absorbed the ideas of others.

The curious mind can but thrive when borrowing from the past or sharing passionately held beliefs with those in the present. Like de Kooning, Picasso was energised by many in his large circle, including writers, composers and artists.

The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy at Tate Modern will show how it was those closest to him – his wife Olga and his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter in particular – who would fire his imagination, compelling him to create artworks of astonishing originality.

Picasso remains a towering figure in the history of art, almost out of reach to those who came after. Yet, as George Condo writes, while Picasso's reconfiguration of past masters (from Caravaggio to David) is akin to his own methods, Picasso's greatest influence on him has been not what the artist produced, but his way of thinking – the 'freedom of his approach to imagery'.

Born just one year after Picasso, Virginia Woolf was similarly nurtured by her relationships with like-minded friends and associates. Yet, while Picasso devoured the ideas of others, Woolf enjoyed a more symbiotic exchange with her contemporaries such as Dora Carrington, Ethel Sands, Vita Sackville-West and others. Such reciprocity would have been on her mind when she wrote: 'Masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.'

No doubt the pioneering American video and performance artist Joan Jonas would agree. Her own vast range of influences – including Greek and Minoan art, Noh theatre, composers La Monte Young and Steve Reich, and early filmmakers George Franju and Sergei Eisenstein – have come together to shape her richly engaging visual narratives. She too has created an impressive body of work that, in turn, continues to inspire a new generation of artists working today.


Picasso 1932: The Year of Wonders

Achim Borchardt-Hume

In 1932, Picasso created a ground-breaking series of paintings and prints that showed him at the very height of his ...

Interview: Joan Jonas – The Performer

Joan Jonas and Rachel Rose

Joan Jonas is an artist and filmmaker who, in the early 1970s, pioneered the use of video and performance in ...

Virginia Woolf: Thinking Back Through Our Mothers

Laura Smith

Virginia Woolf’s radical feminist approach to writing has inspired generations of writers and artists. As a forthcoming exhibition at Tate ...

Skin Bags

Olivia Laing

What do we see in the mirror? We all age, and yet we all battle against the inexorable decline of ...

Picasso's Woman in a Red Armchair 1932

George Condo

An appreciation by fellow artist George Condo

Portfolio: Santu Mofokeng – Making History

Sean O’Toole

Celebrating the life and work of the South African social documentary photographer, Santu Mofokeng

Story of an Artwork: Mark Gertler's Merry-Go-Round 1916

Sarah MacDougall

Merry-Go-Round is one of the most recognisable works in Tate's collection, but how did the painting come about?

Lives of the Artists: Farid Belkahia

Fatima-Zahra Lakrissa

The Moroccan artist who was motivated by art traditions from across the globe found the greatest inspiration closest to home

Objects That Speak for Themselves

Chris Fite-Wassilak

Since the birth of humans as sentient beings, we have believed in the animistic nature of things – of plants ...

Unsung Heroes: Nikoo Kohbodi

Nazgol Ansarinia

One artist remembers the inspirational artist and teacher

Opinion: 'Middlebrow' art

Hana Leaper

‘Highbrow’ and ‘lowbrow’ art – the cultural hierarchies have been with us for over 100 years, but it is time ...

Private View: Kenneth Noland's Gift 1961–2

Alex Taylor

The painting, now in the Tate collection, once hung above the desk of modernist critic Clement Greenberg – and was ...

Details, Details: Joseph Beuys's Coyote 1974

Daisy Hildyard

Beuys's infamous 1974 action I like America and America Likes Me

Point of View: Art in Hospitals

Catsou Roberts

Art in hospitals can be a culturally significant experience if the approach is right

Details, Details: Phillip King's Within 1978–9

Ken Simons

The sweat and toil of assembling a complex sculpture

Opinion: Art and Democracy

John-Paul Stonard

A response to Ai Weiwei's quotation on art's relation to democracy