Gonna get pretentious for a second. In 1958, the famed abstract painter Mark Rothko gave an address at Pratt Institute where he outlined “the recipe of a work of art, it’s ingredients, how to make it, the formula”. He then laid out the ingredients:
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 & 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 & chance … for the human element.
7.Hope. 10% to make the tragic concept more endurable.
“I measure these ingredients very carefully when I paint a picture. It is always the form that follows these elements and the picture results from the proportions of these elements.”
I had no awareness of this quote until about 10 years ago, even though I went to freakin’ art school. And to be frank, I’m not a Rothko fan… but once these old words landed in my head, they never left & I occasionally find myself applying them to movies, books & songs. They aren’t a catch all for every work of art & yeah, you can cherry-pick their sentiments like you do when you read a horoscope. And they can sound calculated, contradictory & blind to the involuntary impulses inherent in creation…but there is some absolute, beautiful truth in there.
And hey, it’s time for the latest WEEKLY NEW WONDERS PLAYLIST featuring the finest songs that crossed our path this week. All are full of chance, sensuality, mortality, tension, wit & hope & they are all unspeakably wonderful.
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