Mark Rothko’s Recipe for a Work of Art
min Read27 July 2022
Mark Rothko, one of the most famous postwar American artists is now generally identified as an Abstract Expressionist and his art is exquisite. Who once has seen Rothko in person, can immediately fall in love with his abstract color fields. You can see everything in them: death, devotion, hope. Or even your own soul.
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.
2. Sensuality. Our basis of being concrete about the world. It is a lustful relationship to things that exist.
3. Tension. Either conflict or curbed desire.
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.
5. Wit and play… For the human element.
6. The ephemeral and chance… For the human element.
7. Hope. 10% to make the tragic concept more endurable.
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