Saturday, April 03, 2010

Alfred Molina in "Red," a play about Mark Rothko

From The PBS News Hour: A scene from 'Red' starring Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne. Video courtesy the Donmar Warehouse Theater in New York.

I’m not much for theater acting, mostly, as it causes people to act large and project, but that’s beside the point. Also, I know nothing about how Rothko was in life, but I know two things from the above depiction:

1. The issues raised in this little speech are absolutely central to conversations we’re still having / not having about the arts. This is why conversations about what we're doing, and what we've done, are fundamental to what we've done, and to what we're doing and are going to do. So when someone says to you that you would be better off working on your art than talking or writing about art, they're missing the point. Talking about art is working on one's art.

2. I would not like to be trapped by an artist before that artist’s work without being well-prepared with something to say. Smart, thoughtful people, who also have an axe to grind, can be formidable.


At 4/05/2010 9:35 AM, Blogger Chris D. said...

"For an artist, difference is everything. The difference between the hack, he dilettante, and the artist as both master of a tradition and inventor of the 'best next thing'... is everything... The reason that these distinctions are important has nothing to do with supporting high culture or disdaining pop culture, or maintaining standards, or appealing to timeless and transcendental notions of the beautiful... It has to do with the difference between feeling alive and feeling dead. For an artist to make something that is mere conventional hackwork is to feel dead in a way that is fundamentally defeating."

--from "The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don't Think For Themselves" by Curtis White, 2003

At 4/05/2010 10:05 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

That's lovely.

I think, though, that artists have the capacity to delude themselves that they are alive when they're really not.


At 4/06/2010 10:40 AM, Blogger Chris D. said...

That's for sure.

(Actually, I've found some of the critical responses to White's cultural criticism to be more interesting than his own books.)

BTW--enjoying your blog very much, discovered it a few weeks back. Thanks.


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