Wrong Direction: U-Turn Required

Two Paintings by Mark Rothko (1903-1970)

I feel that with abstract expressionism, American art took the wrong direction. Instead of the painting becoming something for the viewing public, it became something produced because the painter had to work out something not quite communicable in his or her own mind.

It was during my college years during the mid-1960s that I first developed my dislike of what had become the dominant movement in American painting. (Fortunately, it no longer is.) In fact, it was Mark Rothko who first came to my attention—and I didn’t like him from the first.

It was Anais Nin who wrote in Volume 1 of her Diary: “I am essentially human, not intellectual. I do not understand abstract art. Only art born of love, passion, pain.”

Jackson Pollock’s “Convergence”(1952)

There are many abstract expressionist painters I do not like, so I am highlighting the three who particularly came to my attention: Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning. If I somehow came into possession of one of their works, I would not under any circumstances put it on display. Instead, I would find some fool to pay hard cash for it. It would be ideal for a corporate head office, and not at all for the residence or office of a person who has chosen not be be schooled to appreciate such work.

Willem de Kooning’s “Untitled” (19 Something or Other)

I have come under fire from some of my friends over my attitude on modern art. I don’t dislike all modern art, just art that is divorced from reality as I know and understand it. I do not care a fig for whatever reality is in the mind of the artist if it does not in some way intersect with my reality.

Very interesting rectangles, Mark. I’ll let you know if I’m in the market for any. Oh, Jackson, I hope you’re not doing any graffiti in my neighborhood. And Willem, you built yourself quite a career with your multicolor daubs of an indiscriminate nature.

There really is not anything else I have to say. I’m not the artist, and certainly not the artist’s psychoanalyst.