While the collected writings of many major 20th-century artists, including Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell, and Ad Reinhardt, have been published, Mark Rothko’s writings have only recently come to light, beginning with the critically acclaimed The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art. Rothko’s other written works have yet to be brought together into a major publication. Writings on Art fills this significant void; it includes some 90 documents—including short essays, letters, statements, and lectures—written by Rothko over the course of his career. The texts are fully annotated, and a chronology of the artist’s life and work is also included.
This provocative compilation of both published and unpublished writings from 1934--69 reveals a number of things about Rothko: the importance of writing for an artist who many believed had renounced the written word; the meaning of transmission and transition that he experienced as an art teacher at the Brooklyn Jewish Center Academy; his deep concern for meditation and spirituality; and his private relationships with contemporary artists (including Newman, Motherwell, and Clyfford Still) as well as journalists and curators.
As was revealed in Rothko’s The Artist’s Reality, what emerges from this collection is a more detailed picture of a sophisticated, deeply knowledgeable, and philosophical artist who was also a passionate and articulate writer.
"Gathering all of the artist's writings held in public collections as well as texts in Rothko's descendants' hands, this book brings to light many of his theoretical stances, practical considerations and personal revelations. . . . This book will change the way Rothko is understood and should be required reading for scholars of his era."—Publishers Weekly
"Thanks to this rewarding book, it becomes possible to appreciate more fully than ever before, what [Rothko] thought his work as a painter and art educator were about. . . . A highly insightful look in to the ideas and beliefs that guided his professional painting career."—Burt Wasserman, Primetime A&E
"Writings on Art brings Rothko’s genius into full and more personal light. Comprising some 90 documents—essays, lectures, statements, letters, and interviews from 1934-69—this compilation uncovers a deeply passionate mind seriously grappling with the meaning of art and life."—Lance Esplund, New York Sun
"Writings on Art brings Rothko’s genius into full and more personal light."—Lance Esplund, New York Sun