Chicago Theater ~ On Rothko and The Pitmen Painters

Everyone knows how fabulous Chicago Theater is. There is always something wonderful to see. I am passing along 2 suggestions for anyone reading this blog who resides in Chicago. The Pitmen Painters at Time Line Theater is about a group of men who work in the coal mines who hire a teacher so they can learn about art. When the teacher learns they know absolutely nothing about the history of art, he suggests they pick up a paintbrush and start creating their own art. What follows is an insightful and delightful discussion about art.

I jotted down these quotes to share...

"Art isn't about finding's about asking questions."
"Art is not about technical proficiency, it is about feelings."

A nice article about the book that the play was based on, The Pitman Painters: The Ashington Group 1934-1984 by William Feaver is HERE.

Last night I saw Red at the Goodman Theater which is by American writer John Logan about artist Mark Rothko. I was deeply moved by the play as it touched so many of the themes in my life. Happily, I bought a copy of the play in the lobby to more fully consider it's riches. One thing Rothko asks his assistant was if he had every read Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy. (I haven't but just downloaded it onto my kindle).

He goes on to discuss his concern for building up the luminosity of the painting, (something I am currently struggling with and am at the point of being discouraged but not defeated). "I do a lot of layers, one after another, like a glaze, slowly building the image, like pentimento, letting the luminescence emerge, until it's done."

The Rothko character also states, "These pictures deserve compassion and they live or die in the eye of the sensitive viewer, they quicken only if the empathetic viewer will let them. That is what they cry out for. That is why they were created. That is what they deserve."

For more information on the NYC production, there is an online interview with Charlie Rose HERE.