I am interested only in expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions . . . The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point.
Both Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko are labeled Abstract Expressionists – but look how different they are! That’s why Rothko is also called a Color Field Painter.
Here are some questions for you to think about as you watch the video:
- What did Rothko want his paintings to do?
- What was his background?
- What was his personality like?
- Do you see any similarities between him and Pollock? Between him and Van Gogh?
- How did the events of the twentieth century shape his work?
- What did he answer to the question of how long it took him to do a painting? What did he mean?
- Does it surprise you to see how artists struggle to find their style?
- What changed his mind about going through with the Seagram’s commission?
- Do you agree?
- Why didn’t he fit in with Pop Art?
- What did he offer to do in Germany?
- What do you think of his chapel in Texas?
- How did Rothko’s life end?
- Do you agree with Schama about the effect of Rothko’s paintings?