Arguments Worth Having

Art = Absurdity = Provocation = Contemplation = Wisdom = Love

Mark Rothko vs. Nature

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David Shields and Caleb Powell arguing over Rothko and nature, from the film I Think You're Totally Wrong  - photo courtesy Rabbit Bandini Productions

David Shields and Caleb Powell, at Lake Arrowhead, debate the qualities of nature and art, from the film I Think You’re Totally Wrong – photo courtesy Rabbit Bandini Productions

David Shields on Mark Rothko:  “I listened to a tour guide at the National Gallery ask his group what made Rothko great. Someone said, ‘The colors are beautiful.’ Someone else mentioned how many books and articles had been written about him. A third person pointed out how much people had paid for his paintings. The tour guide said, ‘Rothko is great because he forced artists who came after him to change how they thought about painting.’ This is the single most useful definition of artistic greatness I’ve ever encountered.” – from Reality Hunger

Rothko21 Rothkos:  Rothko may well have changed how artists think. Good thing? Take a look at the 21 Rothkos on the right, all replications of the same concept. Rothko had modest skills, above average talent, but recognized his lack. He chose the path of “Look at me! I’m different!” Variety has a place, but.

From Pollock to Frankenthaler to Eva Hess to Jeff Koons to Tracey Emin, Rothko led chunks of the art world  into both riches and a pretentious mess (See the $45,000,000 rectangle.) For every Rothko there are thousands aspiring for Egregious Difference and deadening the world. And that’s how Rothko changed art.

A Thousand Words:  Enough words, let the pictures speak.

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Written by Caleb Powell

November 2, 2014 at 8:03 am

One Response

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  1. You got wrong. Takes guts to try something new. And some ideas worth painting again and again. Obviously you are not a painter. Standing outside throwing stone at some of the best modern works.

    huelessinchicago

    April 1, 2016 at 7:35 am


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