ROTHKO … Stability and my own misguided bitterness

A new art rating service will help collectors determine if the pricey works they are purchasing will disintegrate or last over time.
— Read on www.barrons.com/articles/how-stable-is-your-rothko-1412014364

The featured cover image is not a Rothko, so don’t anyone start commenting, “that’s not a Rothko,” or anything like that. It’s a piece I did a few years ago, one summer in my mother’s garage. I had recently started been revisiting his work and his life story.

Previously I had, at times, discounted his work and thought it something a child could do. The same a lot of people who know nothing about art might say. But the problem was that I did know a thing or two about art and what’s worse, it was while I was going to art school!

You see, I worked at a framing & print shop and we had a few prints of his more famous works. People would come in and have them framed for their office or suite, perhaps their dinning room or even patient waiting rooms (it was a well-to-do community with doctors and shrinks). Needless to say, I found myself reframing and mating the same Rothkos, day in and day out.

I began to become a bit bitter of his work. Often thinking, “I can do that, that’s easy,” never truly taking in the shear scale and painstaking number of hours to create each piece, or his elaborate process of mixing pigments, chemicals, animal glue, eggs and other elements to make his own paint. The exact recipes he kept secret, but much has been discovered about his process through groundbreaking technologies in art restoration.

But back to me. Reflecting on my cocky youthful attitudes with almost two decades between then and now, I have realized where I came to that conclusion. It was at the cross section of redundancy and ignorance. It’s a hard street corner to work, but I had found myself there blindly. Telling the passers by which sights to see in a town I knew nothing about.

I had forgotten to take into account the experience of being in front of a Rothko, under its spell, absorbing the spiritual experience they can guide you on. When you take photos of trips or parties or any other sight you’ve seen, it’s to capture that moment and recount it years to come. That photograph acts as a trigger. The second it’s pulled, BANG, in your mind you’re there, you remember the sounds, like air, the people, the place, the things, you remember what you were feeling, maybe what was happening in your life at that time, that day, that year. This is the same reason why we’re obsessed with photographs and Instagram and sharing them with the world.

When people were getting those petite replicas framed, it wasn’t because they thought they had a Rothko, but it was the recount the experience in just a small way. Not to mention, it’s not like everyone can afford a Rothko. They go for what, $50 million a pop now?

Well, I’ve deviated completely from the subject at this point, but that’s okay. I’ve become experimental with some of my paint mixtures, but no animals were harmed in the process.

I believe I still have a drafted blog post from a while back about the defacing of a Rothko at the Tate Museum and the efforts they employed to save it. I’ll try to look into REVIVING that one as a follow up. You think?






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