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Red

John Logan

Top 10 Best Quotes

“ROTHKO: (Explodes) 'Pretty.' 'Beautiful.' 'Nice.' 'Fine.' That's our life now! Everything's 'fine'. We put on the funny nose and glasses and slip on the banana peel and the TV makes everything happy and everyone's laughing all the time, it's all so goddamn funny, it's our constitutional right to be amused all the time, isn't it? We're a smirking nation, living under the tyranny of 'fine.' How are you? Fine.. How was your day? Fine. How are you feeling? Fine. How did you like the painting? Fine. What some dinner? Fine... Well, let me tell you, everything is not fine!! HOW ARE YOU?!... HOW WAS YOUR DAY?!... HOW ARE YOU FEELING? Conflicted. Nuanced. Troubled. Diseased. Doomed. I am not fine. We are not fine. We are anything but fine... Look at these pictures. Look at them! You see the dark rectangle, like a doorway, an aperture, yes but it’s also a gaping mouth letting out a silent howl of something feral and foul and primal and REAL. Not nice. Not fine. Real. A moan of rapture. Something divine or damned. Something immortal, not comic books or soup cans, something beyond me and beyond now. And whatever it is, it’s not pretty and it’s not fine...I AM HERE TO STOP YOUR HEART‬”

“When I was your age, art was a lonely thing: no galleries, no collecting, no critics, no money. We didn't have mentors. We didn't have parents. We were alone. But it was a great time, because we had nothing to lose and a vision to gain.”

“Everything worthwhile ends. We are in the perpetual process now: creation, maturation, cessation.”

“‪I do get depressed when I think how people are going to see my pictures. If they’re going to be unkind... Selling a picture is like sending a blind child into a room full of razor blades. It’s going to get hurt and it’s never been hurt before, it doesn’t know what hurt is.‬”

“But a generation that does not aspire to seriousness, to meaning, is unworthy to walk in the shadow of those who have gone before, I mean those who have struggled and surmounted, I mean those who have aspired, I mean Rembrandt, I mean Turner, I mean Michelangelo and Matisse … I mean obviously Rothko.”

“Everyone likes everything nowadays. They like the television and the phonograph and the shampoo and the soda pop and the Cracker Jack. Everything becomes everything else and it's all nice and pretty and LIKABLE. Everything is fun in the sun! Where's the discernment? Where's the arbitration that separates what I LIKE from what I RESPECT, what I deem WORTHY, what has... listen to me now... SIGNIFICANCE.”

“ You would have loved Jackson. He was a downtown guy, a real Bohemian. No banker’s hours for him, believe you me. Every night the drinking and the talking and the fighting and the dancing and the staying up late; like everyone’s romantic idea of what an artist ought to be: the anti-Rothko... At his worst you still loved him though; you loved him because he loved art so much... He thought it mattered. He thought painting mattered... Does not the poignancy stop your heart?... How could this story not end in tragedy?  Goya said, 'We have Art that we may not perish from Truth.'... Pollock saw some truth. Then he didn’t have art to protect him any more... Who could survive that?  I was walking up to my house last week and this couple was passing. Lady looks in the window, says: 'I wonder who owns all the Rothkos.'... Just like that I’m a noun. A Rothko.”

“There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend... One day the black will swallow the red.”

“ROTHKO: All those bugs – ach! I know, those plein air painters, they sing to you endless paeans about the majesty of natural sunlight. Get out there and muck around in the grass, they tell you, like a cow. When I was young I didn’t know any better so I would haul my supplies out there and the wind would blow the paper and the easel would fall over and the ants would get in the paint. Oy… But then I go to Rome for the first time. I go to the Santa Maria del Popolo to see Caravaggio’s ‘Conversion of Saul,’ which turns out is tucked away in a dark corner of this dark church with no natural light. It’s like a cave. But the painting glowed! With a sort of rapture it glowed. Consider: Caravaggio was commissioned to paint the picture for this specific place, he had no choice. He stands there and he looks around. It’s like under the ocean it’s so goddamn dark. How’s he going to paint here? He turns to his creator: ‘God, help me, unworthy sinner that I am. Tell me, O Lord on High, what the fuck do I do now?!’     KEN laughs. ROTHKO: Then it comes to him: the divine spark. He illuminates the picture from within! He gives it inner luminosity. It lives… Like one of those bioluminescent fish from the bottom of the ocean, radiating its own effulgence. You understand? Caravaggio was –”

“Of course you like it – how can you not like it?! Everyone likes everything nowadays. They like the television and the phonograph and the soda pop and the shampoo and the Cracker Jack. Everything becomes everything else and it’s all nice and pretty and likable. Everything is fun in the sun! Where’s the discernment? Where’s the arbitration that separates what I like from what I respect, what I deem worthy, what has…listen to me now…significance.     ”

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Book Keywords:

john-logan, knowledge, respect, generation, seriousness, struggle, death, youth, theatre, life, worthy, surmount, aspire, unworthy, red, significant, art, meaning

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