April 17, 2013

A Trip Downtown

Sometimes a plan works pinch-me good. As did last Friday's beauty: the weather was cold and lifeless but what's terrible for outdoor activities is sublime for haunting museums. And lo and behold (will wonders never cease?) the art museum was fab. There was a large exhibition of the works of Mark Rothko, a mid-20th century abstract artist. Some of his art reminds me of Paul Klee, others Marc Chagall. It was intense and beatific and colorful and I had to remind myself not to try to live “my whole life in one day” as the famous song goes. The morning reading just felt a tad pale before the effervescent luminosity of those magnificent paintings.

Last time I went they had a pitiful exhibit of one lousy painting. Sure it was a Caravaggio, but I'd much rather see twenty average paintings than one masterpiece. I sure wouldn't go to the Louvre just to see the Mona Lisa. So in the afterglow I thought about how a NYC trip to the Metropolitan Ar (and MOMA) seems awfully enticing. Just a long weekend slumming in the Big Apple.

Sad that he died by his own hand - boy he telegraphed it with his art. The last years he began eliminating colors from his vocabulary beginning with the lighter ones, until the last two years he was down to dark reds and black and such. His last piece was just a grim, two-tone black and gray. Art seems risky to the psyche. I'm almost surprised ol' Walker Percy, with all the suicide in his family, went the artistic route! But then art is not a choice, it's more of a mandate. Rothko's end is especially tragic in light of the religious impulse he felt, as noted by the crucifixion scene he rendered with Christ so near the criminals next to Him (artificially close), a solidarity so intense that it reminds me of the incredible fortune of the Incarnation.

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