Thanks to poet Tony Hoagland for sending this wonderful manifesto.
MARK ROTHKO’S RECIPE FOR ART
The recipe for a work of art – its ingredients – how to make it – the formula
1. There must be a clear preoccupation with death – intimations of mortality. Tragic art, romantic art, etc., deals with the knowledge of death.
2. Sensuality. Our basis of being concrete about the world. It is a lustful relationship to things that exist.
3. Tension. Either conflict or curbed desire.
4. Irony. This is a modern ingredient – the self-effacement and examination by which a man for an instant can go on to something else.
5. Wit and play… for the human element.
6. The ephemeral and chance… for the human element.
7. Hope. 10% to make the tragic concept more endurable.
I measure these ingredients very carefully when I paint a picture. It is always the form that follows these elements and the picture results from the proportions of these elements.