Abstract Expressionism

The Recipe Of Work Of Art By Mark Rothko. Warning: Explosive Human Emotions Inside

Zuzanna Stańska 9 September 2016 min Read

Mark Rothko, one of the most famous postwar American artists is now generally identified as an abstract expressionist but his works are exquisite. Who once has seen Rothko live, can immediately fell in love with his abstract color fields. You can see everything in those fields: death, devotion, hope. Or even your own soul. Really depends. In November 1958 Mark Rothko gave an address to the Pratt Institute. He discussed art as trade and offered "the recipe of a work of art - its ingredients - how to make it - the formula". Here it is. What do you think?

1. There must be a clear preoccupation with death—intimations of mortality... Tragic art, romantic art, etc., deals with the knowledge of death.

[caption id="attachment_1562" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Mark Rothko, Untitled (Black on Grey), 1970, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Mark Rothko, Untitled (Black on Grey), 1970, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.[/caption]

2. Sensuality. Our basis of being concrete about the world. It is a lustful relationship to things that exist.

[caption id="attachment_1567" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Mark Rothko, Untitled (Blue Divided by Blue), 1966, private collection Mark Rothko, Untitled (Blue Divided by Blue), 1966, private collection[/caption]

3. Tension. Either conflict or curbed desire.

[caption id="attachment_1707" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Mark Rothko, Untitled (Red, Orange), 1968, Fondation Beleyer, Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel, © Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / ProLitteris, Zürich Mark Rothko, Untitled (Red, Orange), 1968, Fondation Beyeler, Photo: Robert Bayer, Basel, © Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / ProLitteris, Zürich[/caption]

4. Irony, This is a modern ingredient—the self-effacement and examination by which a man for an instant can go on to something else.

[caption id="attachment_1569" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Mark Rothko, No. 15. Black, Red and Black, 1968, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid Mark Rothko, No. 15. Black, Red and Black, 1968, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid[/caption]

5. Wit and play... for the human element

[caption id="attachment_1563" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1956, Phillips Collection Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1956, Phillips Collection[/caption]

6.The ephemeral and chance... for the human element.

[caption id="attachment_1570" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Mark Rothko, Red And Pink On Pink, c. 1953, The Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston Mark Rothko, Red And Pink On Pink, c. 1953, The Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston[/caption]

7. Hope. 10% to make the tragic concept more endurable.

[caption id="attachment_1566" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Mark Rothko, White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), 1950, private collection Mark Rothko, White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose), 1950, private collection[/caption]  

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