The modern "blockbuster" art show has come and largely gone over the last 30 years. Sure there are occasional exceptions like the recent Leonardo show in London but for the most part the day when a new year meant at least one new retrospective by some titan of art are dead and gone, killed off by insurance companies.

But lets wind the clock back to the happier days of 1980 when the art blockbuster - as an entire generation of art lovers came to understand the term - was born. The event which gave birth to the new cultural phenomenon was the Museum of Modern Art's Picasso retrospective. This massive, thrilling, disturbing, enlightening and exuberant show took over MOMA from May 22 until September 16 of that year and was as much an eye opener for museums around the world as it was for lovers of modern art. Hundreds of thousands of patrons moved through MOMA's turnstiles and were rewarded with a comprehensive overview of one of the most widely known yet little understood artists who ever lived. The exhibition took over the entire museum, an unprecedented occurrence but a necessary one as nearly a thousand works were included in the show. Day after day lines stretched down West 53rd Street . Inside awaited room after room of paintings that changed the course of visual history.

From "Les Demoiselles D'Avignon" to "Still Life with Chair Caning" to "The Three Musicians" to the to the mindblowing graphic work of the 1930s "Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective" prepared the ground and set the bar for blockbusters that followed and made the 1980s a golden age for art lovers.

Picasso - "Minotauromachy" 1935 - etching