30 June, 2008

Rothko The Courageous

Do you ever argue with historians? You should. It keeps your reasoning fresh, and exercises your critical thought.

Not long ago, the BBC series, Simon Schama's Power of Art, aired in the USA. I had the unfortunate experience of seeing Schama's segment on Bernini. On the one hand, I learned a great deal about the artist, but decided to quibble with the historian.

Then I had the chance to see Schama's segment about Mark Rothko, in part, on You Tube. Having just re-read the TASCHEN book on Rothko, I was thrilled with this video. The Power of Art series reenacts key, historical artists' lives in vignettes, with narration and lecture by Schama, who is compelling in his writing and not a bad speaker.

Historian and art historian Simon Schama, in the year 1970, took a wrong turn in the Tate and was confronted, unexpectedly, by the Rothko Room. He admits, and I think very transparently, that when he realized it was the Rothko display, he expected to see the "cemetery of abstraction...a dead end". Instead, he was transported.

"This isn't about now,
this is about forever.
Can art ever be more complete; more powerful?
I don't think so."

Simon Schama on Rothko.

In this video, Schama illuminates Rothko's courage as an artist, and the essential quality of his art that transcends paint and canvas.
I have no argument with this opinion!

The Seagram Murals at the Tate Modern.


vivien said...

I enjoyed that series, he came up with some interesting insights and facts about the artists lives too.

I, of course, really like Rothko :>)

Casey Klahn said...

Thanks, Vivien.

Thanks for reading, too, Fuel 55. I decided to wait on your comment, though, as it had too much poker hand numerology. Looked like code, to me!

Send me a comment without links, sometime, and I'll be happy to post 'em.

Kim said...

I admire Rothko and his work very much Casey...and such a tragic end to his life too...
your studio looks great...
all that space..I'm envious :)

Casey Klahn said...

We all do what we can. Poor Rothko maybe couldn't face the health issues.

Deborah Paris said...

I am reading a Rothko biography right now (James Breslin) and I have to say I am rethinking a great deal of what I thought about Rothko (I'll do a post about that soon). Thank you for the U Tube link- very moving.

Casey Klahn said...

If I ever finish The Artist's Reality, I'll trade with you, Deborah.

I think I read a negative review of the Breslin one, somewhere, but that doesn't dissuade me from reading it.

Looking forward to your post. I just finished three short works on Rothko, so I'm "into" his work right now.

Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism