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Sunday, 2 May 2010

Nothing Inside


File:Newman-Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and  Blue.jpg

People on television
give you their
public self

like people on

File:Voice of Fire.jpg

from Green, 1971

Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue?: Barnett Newman, 1966
Voice of Fire: Barnett Newman, 1967


Elmo St. Rose said...

America could be doomed
by TV
ie no real appreciation
of the public/private

"smart dude that
Hogarth" TC once
said about
the new hearth

Curtis Roberts said...

This poem and the two Barnett Newman paintings look extremely solid and powerful together and really open each other up. I didn’t realize it at first, but Newman’s titles add to the experience.

TC said...


Well, the deal is this: on board the Queen Mary in the summer of 1963, I attended a lecture by the British sociologist Richard Hoggart (this is true -- something about long sea voyages that causes you to do things you otherwise might not do), in which Mr. Hoggart suggested that whereas in England families centered around the hearthside, in America families centered around... you guessed it.

The TV.


Speaking of machines, I must confess that, to me at least, that lower Newman, when scrolled-down-on, somewhat resembles the experience of riding an elevator.

Curtis Roberts said...

Your reaction to the Newman painting was mine also. I just a read a biographical article about Hoggart -- interesting. I've never taken a long sea voyage, but I imagine attending the lecture seemed like a reasonable expenditure of time. I once had the unexpected pleasure of meeting and spending most of an evening with Barnett Newman and his wife. He was extremely nice, patient with the questions of an interested and inquisitive young person, articulate and informative.

TC said...

Well, Curtis, I've pretended not to have been interested, but in fact I was, and the Hoggart talk was fascinating indeed.

One part of the learning aspect of the voyage, for me.

On that vast liner and her sister ship the Elizabeth almost all the many hundreds of Cunard Line employees had family ties going back with the company, they and their fathers before them had in many cases spent a good part of their lives on those and other boats of that line. And too many of them had served variously at sea through the war, and in some cases lost family members to that service. This gave one a sense of the meaning of the term "sea-faring nation".

A large part of the passenger list was British as well, mostly older people returning home from their once in a lifetime cruise to the States. There was even then a strong memory of wartime conditions, rationing and the like, so there again one saw the comparative experiences for the first time in at least a semi-objective way.

There was a great deal more education soon to come of course, but really the becoming-accustomed did begin on the water.