During the 60s, while America was collectively drugging themselves into fucking oblivion, artists like Andy Warhol and his soup cans, as well as other pop artists like Lichtenstein and Rosencrests, prospered while artists representing the abstract expressionism and avant-garde movement in America languished in obscurity.
The delicate lines and overt irreverence represent the inner struggles of go fuck yourself.
Meanwhile, abstract expressionist Mark Rothko painted a metric fuckton of mystifying panels on other colors, known by art historians as multiforms. Just color on color, foregoing resemblance and likeness, celebrating the performance of the colors themselves and their interactions with other colors.
You see, Rothko had a long and agonizing career trying to get somewhere with his work. He dropped out of Yale University because of a god damn Jew quota. Seriously. He spent years trying to find his voice, something that could exist outside of the white noise of the modern world, and found it in his weird-ass alien landscapes.
Seriously. He would go on to make a fucking mint with these paintings, receiving the kind of attention and selling for the kind of prices you’d expect to be the GDP of French Polynesia. He was approached by the board of the then under-construction corporate headquarters for the Seagram’s Building in New York City. He was offered $37,000 to paint the murals, which, as you would imagine, is, adjusted for inflation, nearly $2 million.
Go fuck yourself, French Polynesia!
The Fuck You
After Rothko visited the restaurant where his paintings were to hang, he decided he would never let his paintings hang in the same building as people who “would spend that kind of money on food”. In the end he decided to donate his Seagram’s murals to an exhibit to honor Holocaust survivors, but it would never come to be. He would later take an offer to hang his darker work in a chapel in Houston. He gave his work away rather than hang it in a gaudy restaurant, and this fuck you cost him severely. He would later commit suicide, leaving his cathedral of multiforms as a somber gallery dedicated solely to say fuck you, to money and the conventions of art.
Speaking of conventions…
Next week (or when I finish) Van Gogh vs the conventions of art and the world –