César Aira goes to MoMA

On his second-to-last day in New York City, the Museum of Modern Art invited César Aira to view drawings and etchings by Picasso not on display to the public.

Aira’s short story “Picasso” begins thus:

It all began when the genie came out of the Magic Milk bottle and asked me what I would prefer: to have a Picasso or to be Picasso. He could grant me either wish but, he warned me, only one of the two. I had to think about it for quite a while—or, rather, he obliged me to think about it.

Along with New Directions’ Publisher Barbara Epler and Vice President Laurie Callahan, Aira could ponder this question while rifling through artworks by Picasso and Duchamp in MoMA’s special collections. No bags or coats allowed.

New Directions thanks May Castleberry and Katherine D. Alcauskas for this special viewing!

Read “Picasso” in The New Yorker.


Iphone pics courtesy of Laurie and Barbara.

Image by New Direction