Sunday, July 22, 2007

Young Lovers Loving the Rothkos

I was enjoying the Rothkos when I saw this young couple at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. I suppose I took it for granted when I lived an hour or so from there, but I now think the East Wing of the National Gallery is quite a special place with a significant collection of some of my favorite art.

Mark Rothko is a name that rolls off my tongue when I think of my all time favorite painters. And here I will ramble a bit about him. His paintings feel like atmospheres to me. Really, they just feel like feelings to me. I find their simplicity so powerful. I don't really think they are about feelings, though some would argue about that. I think they're about nothing and consider them non-representational where the arguers would call them abstract. I think he painted them about nothing, or just about themselves, and I project the idea of an atmosphere or a feeling onto them. And I think good art has a lot to do with that.

I was excited to find a show there at the National Gallery about some of his commissioned mural work. What I liked were some "studies" for the murals that showed a little insight into how he worked. The studies were sort of "sketches" testing out ideas for the murlas. These "sketches" were actually large paintings, bigger than the ones in this photo. But I don't really care for his mural work as much as his paintings meant to stand on their own. I made a pilgrimidge to the Rothko Chapel in Houston about 10 years ago, and was underwhelmed there too. It was nice to see the paintings so dominant in an environment designed for them, but the work itself just didn't inspire me. Maybe I should go back to Houston and look again.

The young lovers came through the nice room where I was relaxing and enjoying the Rothkos. They seemed to have a serious appreciation of the Rothkos that surprised me given their young age. I think they were puberty-cusp-riders.


Pescador said...

Do you think them were making any value judgments? Or just appreciating for appreciating sake?

Edward said...

I couldn't hear what they were saying, but they seemed to be appreciating.