Writings on Artby Mark Rothko, Miguel Lopez-Remiro
Pub. Date: 04/28/2006
Publisher: Yale University Press
While the collected writings of many major 20th-century artists, including Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, and Ad Reinhardt, have been published, Mark Rothko’s writings have only recently come to light, beginning with the critically acclaimed The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art. Rothko’s other written works have yet to be/i>
While the collected writings of many major 20th-century artists, including Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, and Ad Reinhardt, have been published, Mark Rothko’s writings have only recently come to light, beginning with the critically acclaimed The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art. Rothko’s other written works have yet to be brought together into a major publication. Writings on Art fills this significant void; it includes some 90 documentsincluding short essays, letters, statements, and lectureswritten by Rothko over the course of his career. The texts are fully annotated, and a chronology of the artist’s life and work is also included.
This provocative compilation of both published and unpublished writings from 193469 reveals a number of things about Rothko: the importance of writing for an artist who many believed had renounced the written word; the meaning of transmission and transition that he experienced as an art teacher at the Brooklyn Jewish Center Academy; his deep concern for meditation and spirituality; and his private relationships with contemporary artists (including Newman, Motherwell, and Clyfford Still) as well as journalists and curators.
As was revealed in Rothko’s The Artist’s Reality, what emerges from this collection is a more detailed picture of a sophisticated, deeply knowledgeable, and philosophical artist who was also a passionate and articulate writer.
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Mark Rothko created some of the more spiritually radiant paintings of any artist form any ear. That his paintings were abstractions - blocks of color conjoined by a marriage of midline intercourse of pigment - makes this accomplishment something that still befuddles art critics and historians and viewers alike. Here at last, some thirty-six years after his death by suicide, editor Miguel Lopez-Remiro has gathered notes from his addresses to Pratt Institute, letters to artists and friends and curators and writers, proving that Rothko was not the silent warden of explanations about his work: he was an eloquent spokesman and writer who simply felt that words were unnecessary in people's experience of his visual statements.He wrote, `I have never thought that painting a picture has anything to so with self-expression. It is a communication about the world to someone else. After the world is convinced about this communication it changes. The world was never the same after Picasso or Miro. Theirs was a view of the world which transformed our vision of things.' Kind accolades from a man once thought to be a recluse. In response to art critics' questions he merely state 'A painting doesn't need anybody to explain what it is about. If it is any good, it speaks for itself.'Rothko's writings collected in this book demonstrate that he did indeed have the ability to discuss his mysteriously beautiful works: he also makes it clear that the communication between his paintings and the viewer should relay on the spiritual needs and vulnerabilities. These letters and essays are informative, well arranged chronologically by Lopez-Remiro, and graciously allowed to stand alone for their impact, much in the way his paintings must stand alone - usually in context with other Rothko paintings in isolated rooms with special lighting that gives the work the sense in frailty and intransigence. Highly recommended reading for those who have experience the miracle of standing before a Rothko image. Grady Harp