Tag Archives: Mark Rothko

To My Artist-Friends

The back cover of the CD case of William Basinski's Disintegration Loops (2002)

The back cover of the CD case of William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops (2002)

Despite the present conditions, you remain important. Experience of the world bounces off of you prismatically, even if you don’t want that.

You are particular, fragile prisms. Even your most melancholic allow light through. You’ve seen the glow illuminating Mark Rothko’s paintings. But sometimes I worry you might break if presented with the wrong world. There is a necessary nostalgia you’ve held for so long. It was with you in the furnace, imbued in you like an alloy—strengthening you in some ways, and weakening you in others. That alloy is the residue of Romanticism.

Nietzsche saw this in you. His admiration found those fragile points:

Of course, the philosophy of an artist does not matter much if it is merely an afterthought and does not harm his art. One cannot be too careful to avoid bearing any artist a grudge for an occasional, perhaps very unfortunate and presumptuous masquerade. We should not forget that, without exception, our dear artists are, and have to be to some extent, actors; and without play-acting they would scarcely endure life for any length of time.1

1 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage Books, 1974 [1887]), 155.

The Views from Planes

Maybe this is just the rural Ohioan in me speaking when I say this, but no matter how many flights I’ve been on, I’m always amazed by act of flying. I always choose a window-seat, and I always watch as we lift off into the air. I don’t understand how so many fellow travelers don’t even glance out the window during this. I really do feel like a child when I say things like that. But, here’s a short video I put together from video I’ve taken in the air:

It’s interesting how sometimes the view can be so abstract that it approaches a similarity to paintings by J. M. W. Turner or Mark Rothko.

Mark Rothko, "Untitled, 1969," acrylic on paper mounted on canvas (136.5cm x 108cm)

Mark Rothko, “Untitled, 1969,” acrylic on paper mounted on canvas (136.5cm x 108cm)

Of course, there is also this defamiliarization that such views cause in me, in which I’m bound to start thinking about us earthlings as inhabitants of just another planet, trying out our project of civilization. I suppose that is rather romantic in a sense.