the last word on genre

Last Saturday I went to see the Picasso exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I'm not even going to try to critique it (I like visual art, but I don't have the background to do a proper critique). I did want to share something from the explanatory plaque beside one of Picasso's early multimedia pieces. The piece in question is Guitare et bouteille de Bass, and its date was given as "fall 1913".

It was said by the art critic André Salmon in response to some of the initial confusion arising from the piece (people didn't know if it was to be hung on a wall, or treated like a sculpture, or what).

The English translation is:
"Now we are delivered from the imbecile tyranny of genres. It's neither one thing nor another. It's nothing. It's the guitar! Art will at last be fused with life, now that we have at last ceased to try to fuse life with art."
The French (and probably the original text) was given as:
"Nous sommes désormais delivrés de la tyrannie imbecile des genres. Ce n'est ni une chose ni l'autre. L'art sera enfin fusionné avec la vie, maintenant que nous avons finalement cesser de tenter du fusionner la vie avec l'art."
If you know both French and English (or if you can parse well), you'll see there are two short extra sentences in the English which are not present in the French, nor is their sense. Oh well, they don't change things.

But I want to emphasise: someone was already saying this about genre, in fine art.

In 1913.

When is our culture going to catch up with itself? Why do we have to keep repeating the same useless, circular debates over and over again? Salmon summed it up quite nicely almost exactly a century ago.  Genre may be all right for designating regions in the creative landscape, but simply cannot be applied to every single specific piece of art.

There.