Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In the Rothko Chapel without a press pass

One shouldn't let intellectuals play
with matches
Because Gentlemen when left to itself
The mental world Gennntlemen
Isn't at all brilliant

And as soon as it's alone
Works arbitrarily
Erecting for itself
Out of self-styled generosity in honor of

Let's repeat it Gennnntlemen
When left to itself

The mental world


Jacques Prévert
  One Shouldn't
Lawrence Ferlinghetti 
op. cit.

Mark Rothko
  Painting no. 8
circa 1970

iii  Hedi Slimane, photo, rev.


  1. You often show a Rothko. They most often do nothing for me, I've never really been attracted to them, even in person, even in 'grave reverence'.

    Now a Twombly, that you can give me.

  2. Thank you for these suggestions. I'm sure you don't really mean that I often show a Rothko, although I have shown more of him than of Twombly (and of Tiepolo, too). Subtracting the occasions of showing a Rothko to discuss the Rothko play, "Red" (with which I'm not finished, thank you for reminding me), I think the disparity vanishes. But the problem with my inclination to show a Twombly here is that he does not concentrate the mind on M. Prévert's verse, while (faute de mieux) Rothko does, even without the oppressive distraction of his demise, which I think is irrelevant.

    But it does feel peculiar to toss the Venus de Milo into a posting on ladies' complexions and there is some of that here for me in the adaptation of this painting. And I want to call it a painting, not a Rothko, because as a painting I think it draws me quite past the sense that it is spectacular, and into admission that it is, in every phrase, a very gorgeous labour, almost ignoring its expressiveness and admiring its technique. For this reason I have illuminated it more than you will usually see. Taking into account its expressiveness, I think it's one of the most honourable and coherent impressions of feeling into a plane that I have ever seen.

    But of course, I'm always looking - :)
    Thank you.

  3. There is a universal meditative quality in Rohtko's paintings here all seeing and all knowing as it reflects back onto you

  4. One has to think some sense of this must have been anticipated in the de Menils' invitation to Rothko to co-operate with this project. I honestly do not think that a quality of omniscience has to be associated with this canvas - except as it may propound it - to serve the meditative act you describe, of interaction. But this is an extremely interesting response to the painting, and now you've set me off on giving it more consideration.

    But of course, I'm always listening - :)
    Thank you.

  5. Laurent et al, I think a meditative meeting of the minds is in order. off to houston, how shall I know You? I will be wearing RED & a skull and cross bone scarf. X

  6. I'll be the one with the red mug dangling from his trenchcoat. I'm giving practice to this ensemble this weekend, meeting an old friend in the East Wing (of the National Gallery, not what you might have thought). I'd wear a demi-tasse but there'd be bound to be some snickering in Texas. 0