Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Of poets and painters and filmmakers: a short entry

While browsing a new book on Rothko, I learned that Antonioni the filmmaker, while in New York presenting his L'eclisse, paid a visit to the painter. Rothko brought out his art one piece at a time and was full of anxiety due to Antonioni's silence for an hour or two, when the latter finally spoke through an interpreter saying that they both had the same subject matter: nothingness. Another version has it that the filmmaker said, "Your paintings are like my films. They are about nothing . . . with precision." Antonioni's Il Deserto Rosso was made after his meeting with Rothko and is considered a departure from Anotonioni's singature style of filmmaking. Then later today I happen to read a William Logan's review of Selected Poems by Frank O'Hara in New York Times Book Review and couldn't help admiring a photograph of Artists at the Cedar Tavern, 1959, with the following caption, "We often wrote poems while listening to the painters argue," Frank O'Hara recalled.

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