Michael Bloomberg on Picasso

When my girlfriend Claire and I entered the Armory Show’s press conference, Michael Bloomberg stood at the microphone. It was a packed hall. Some people snapped photos; others sat in corners scribbling notes.

Claire and I expected Bloomberg would be discussing this year’s fair, the arts, etc. And from his agitation, it was clear he also expected that the questions wouldn’t dwell on his recent budget proposal. But reporters kept attacking Bloomberg for his education cuts, on account of which almost 5,000 public school teachers (some of whom with seniority) will get laid off. This would overcrowd already crowded classrooms. Eventually Bloomberg said in desperation: “If anyone wants to talk about art, I’m happy to talk about art.”

Then came a few more angry questions followed by the same replies. “We have a budget problem this year. We need a balanced budget this year.” Or, “Right now we have to downsize.” Or, “There’s a 600 million dollar budget – a tremendous amount of money.”

By now people seemed ready for a change in topic, not to mention some laughs, so I moved near the front, raised my hand, and posed a question about Picasso. Here’s the transcript of our brief encounter:

MB: Last question.

JC: Mr. Mayor – Jon Cotner, Paris Review. To change the topic, any thoughts on Picasso’s Blue Period? [Laughter]

MB: Always liked the color. [Laughter] And always…I actually have a connection with Picasso. His widow is a friend of mine. Françoise Gilot. [Pause] So um, I’ll have to consult with her before I say anything about Picasso, or her son, or her daughter, so…thank you very much. This…this [Video ends]

An interesting response to say the least. Behind me a guy said “How lame.” But I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, rather than address the isolation, poverty, and despair of these monochromatic works, Bloomberg gaudily refers to rolling with La Madame. TC mark

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  • Becca S.

    It's funny how Bloomberg completely avoids the question.

  • seems bleak

    Bloomberg is also planning to close 20 firehouses and 100 senior citizen centers, while also eliminating 16000 day-care jobs and 5000 summer youth jobs. Seems bleak.

    • guest

      we should just divide his private fortune, which from what i hear equals almost 20 billion dollars. seems less bleak that way.

  • BKP26

    This is strangely funny. Your question cut the tension in the room. I can only imagine what it must have been like, with everyone so angry. He's still defensive during his answer.

  • eric

    he likes the color, jesus

  • Anthony cristofani

    ” the isolation, poverty, and despair…”. And so new York is in a blue period. It needs to enter a blue collar period. More of this kind of interview as performance art, please.

  • Jody Fossler

    “But I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, rather than address the isolation, poverty, and despair of these monochromatic works, Bloomberg gaudily refers to rolling with La Madame.”
    Good job!

  • Paulie the Fish

    Sorry, but this looks exactly like a smartass reporter taking up the mayor's earlier invitation to ask a (joke) question about art. And when he gets a joke answer in return, what does that reporter do? Gets him for answering funny

    Dick move. (Bloomberg's a capitalist shit, but.)

    • Guest

      You actually think Bloomberg is funny here? If anything he could be attacked for his poor sense of humor.

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