Three Web Big Hits as "Picasso Goes Punk"

Picasso Goes Punk in Bold Contemporary Painting

Michael Robinson’s “Dance Cadaverous” Has “Warhol Mashup”

San Diego, CA — A bold contemporary painting by Oakland, CA artist Michael Robinson takes a famous Picasso self portrait and mashes it up with a Warhol-style vibe that also cites early punk rock and jazz. 

Now on display at Legends Gallery of La Jolla, Robinson’s acrylic on canvas original uses Picasso’s famous 1907 self portrait as the focal piece for the painting. Juxtaposed to that are several panels of Picasso’s 1930 painting, “The Acrobat.”

For the portrait section, Robinson uses very bold colors to make it strikingly different from the original. That mood is accentuated by the fact that seven panels featuring the Acrobat each have different color schemes, giving the painting a strong pop art feel reminiscent of Andy Warhol.

Moreover, the entire idea for the painting stems from an early punk song by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. Titled “Pablo Picasso,” the song was recorded in 1972 and released four years later. 

Robinson cements the idea of Picasso going punk by quoting a line from the song and writing it onto the painting. The painting’s title stems from a 1966 landmark jazz tune by saxophonist Wayne Shorter. 

“As a former musician, I really had a lot of fun with this painting,” Robinson says. “It’s a great way for me to combine my love of music with my passion for painting in a way that is very unique to my style. Plus, I really like the sarcastic sense of humor.”

Robinson, 66, has followed a circuitous route to becoming a rising star of California’s contemporary art scene. In addition to his years-long stint as a musician, he also is an award winning former newspaper reporter, published author and Pulitzer Prize nominee.

His artwork is highly regarded for Robinson’s love of big ideas and bold color schemes. He counts as his major influences Kandinsky, Basquiat, Miro, and Klee. His exhibit at Legends Gallery runs through January, 2023