Rothko at Whitechapel: the effect of his paintings on the public

A short video clip from the Whitechapel Gallery in Britain showing their Rothko archives and photos from Rothko’s 1961 exhibition. Curator Nayia Yiakoumaki narrates.

I’m always struck by the way the people react to Rothko’s art. Usually in photographs where people are standing next to paintings, either the painting dominates and the people look like clutter – you wish they’d get out of the way so you can see the painting better – or the people dominate and the painting shrinks to just a swirl of color on the wall.

But in the Rothko photographs, the people and the art blend together in a way that seems so right. Like people basking on a beach, or floating in a pool, they react to the monumental simplicity of these paintings in such an instinctive, natural way.

Ice age is here, right in your town

Because it’s still freezing and my chilblained fingers can barely find the keys, dear readers, I fob you off with another music video.  Men Without Hats are from Canada but the singer’s family originally from the Ukraine.  And they refused to wear hats in winter.   Seriously.  It’s a Slavic thing, I guess.   I’m in the former Yugoslavia, but nobody wears hats here either, and they look at me funny because I do.

“Shadowplay” by Joy Division, Reanimated

I just found this on Rhizome and was completely blown away.  It’s an animation by Yoshi Sodeoka.


“This video project was inspired by the famous album cover art of 1979 album, Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” designed by Peter Saville. Original video footage is from Joy Division’s TV performance of “Shadowplay” on Granada Reports. The video footage was animated with the same topographic style of the album cover design.”  (Rhizome)
More by Yoshi Sodeoka

Why make art? Richard Serra at SFMOMA

In a short interview at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Richard Serra explains his view of the process.

My own experience has been almost the opposite:  I always thought real life was my alternate existence.  Reality was that tedious thing that had to be got through in order to spend a few hours or minutes living my true life.

Maybe growing up in a bitterly dysfunctional environment helped to shape that experience, though.  I used my creative ability to escape.  I still do.

Reality isn’t good enough for me.

Why do artists make art?  Share your thoughts below.