Just past six o’clock last night, Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis walked through a gallery at the Museum of Modern Art filled with more than 65 images of guitars by Picasso.
It was noted that the gallery was silent. “These are so beautiful, you don’t need music,” said Kravis, co-chairman and chief executive of KKR Management LLC. Marie-Josee Kravis is president of MoMA.
The preview reception for the exhibition “Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914,” which opens Feb. 13, brought out few guitar players.
“I never played any instrument,” said art dealer Daniella Luxembourg.
MoMA’s chief curator emeritus, John Elderfield, said he studied piano as a child. “Growing up in northern England, it was so cold I had to practice with gloves on,” he said.
“I like listening,” said the director of the museum, Glenn Lowry. Some of his favorites: “Everything from Pink Floyd and the Stones to Radiohead and Fleet Foxes.”
At the bar set up in the second-floor atrium, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, beer in hand, noted that he is the band’s singer and songwriter and has never played an instrument.
In a couple of hours of mingling, a few guitar players were identified: Nick Winokur, the 12-year-old son of the show’s curator, Anne Umland; Brett Littman, the executive director of the Drawing Center, who said he can play the first few chords of “Lola”; Michael L. McCarty, the proprietor of Michael’s restaurant, who plays a dobro; and a onetime assistant to Jean-Michel Basquiat, artist Rick Prol, who plays classical guitar and rock ‘n roll.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the art and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)