HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

No title

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
136188,280 (3.59)None
Member:
Title:
Authors:
Info:
Collections:
Rating:
Tags:a.

Work details

The Artist's Reality: Philosophies of Art by Mark Rothko

None

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

originally appeared on my blog, http://smallpressures.blogspot.com

OK, so Mark Rothko was not a writer. This is apparent in this recently discovered text, published in 2004 by Yale UP but probably written during the late 1930's or early 1940's. His prose is dense and sometimes circular, he lets his bitterness about other, more commercially successful artists pop up in the middle of seemingly unrelated chapters, and he creates obscure definitions for artistic principles that he doesn't clearly define.

That having been said, The Artist's Reality is still a gem, if only because you get a tiny glimpse into the mind of one of the 20th century's most remarkable painters. Having just read Rothko's "philosophies," I am not sure I understand his work any more than I did before, and readers looking for insight into his color field paintings won't find much in the way of new clarity, as the editor, Rothko's son, warns. But it sure is delightfully bitchy fun listening to him make fun of Maxfield Parrish.

And there are some lovely sentences in this slim text, such as when Rothko proclaims:

Therefore art, like philosophy, is of its own age; for the partial truths of each age differ from those of other ages, and the artist, like the philosopher, must constantly adjust eternity, as it were, to all the specifications of the moment.

There is something really striking about this sentence, because among the meandering construction and totally useless little phrases to trip over like "as it were," there is this tiny gem of a phrase: "must constantly adjust eternity."

The whole book is like that -- a genius who knows his own mind and yet is struggling with words to make it clear. It's really wonderful in its rawness. We have to remember that Rothko himself did not publish the book, maybe for good reason, and did not have the final edit, since the manuscript was (thankfully!) unearthed from his files long after his death.
  AngieK | Sep 7, 2009 |
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0300115857, Paperback)

Mark Rothko, the painter famous for his luminous abstract canvases, spent several years in the late 1930s and early '40s writing a book about the meaning of art. Edited by his son Christopher, Rothko's uncompleted manuscript, The Artist's Reality: Philosophies of Art, reveals a man struggling to make a case for the highest ideals of Western culture at a time when crass popular taste and American regionalism were conspiring against the values he held dear. During these years, Rothko worked in a melancholy Expressionist style that was just beginning to be influenced by Surrealism. The hovering rectangles of color that would put him on the modern art map were still a decade away. While this book will no doubt be important to Rothko scholars, it is a period piece, relying on a form of rhetoric and a belief system that can be exasperating to modern readers. Windy chapters on such topics as "The Integrity of the Plastic Process," studded with references to Plato and Leonardo, "truth" and "unity," are Rothko's stock in trade. He never mentions his own paintings and refers to a few other living artists only in passing. And yet--as Christopher Rothko points out in his clear-eyed and useful introduction--the process of wrestling ideas onto the page may have helped the artist find a personal means of expressing the "tragic emotionality" that he believed to be the essence of all great art. Rothko longed to discover a new, post-Christian "myth" that could express a unified outlook on life by embodying "the world of ideals." Little did he realize at the time that the resolution of his dilemma would be based on a radically new approach to handling paint and using color. —Cathy Curtis

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:18:55 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
18 wanted

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.59)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
3 4
3.5 1
4 6
4.5
5

Yale University Press

Two editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300102534, 0300115857

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,523,123 books! | Top bar: Always visible