Mark Rothko and Willa Cather

This weekend I read Willa Cather's A Lost Lady, which someone I knew back in Nebraska used to say was as good as if not better than The Great Gatsby (the "Great American Novel" of the same time period). I wish I could remember who used to say that, because I would like to give that person credit for being a genius. Ever since I finished Alice Munro's Runaway last fall, I have been in a state of literary depression. Although I have read some great books, nothing could quite measure up, but now I have found a way to go on. More in an upcoming Book Rate.

In the meantime, I requested for review a new book of Mark Rothko's essays. I hope I get it, because I went to the library this weekend to look into him a little and refresh my memory, and found that I had as much interest in his life as I have in his mesmerizing, meditative art. I read a little picture biography of him while my husband was lost in the stacks, and now I have started on the James Breslin biography. I was thinking of this time I was in the Kansas City art museum, and I saw a whole gaggle of children, no older than first or second graders, who had sort of settled in this gallery where they had a lot of modern art. I was sitting in front of the Rothko they have there, which is totally black. The "objects," as Rothko called them, were just different shades of black, if you can imagine. These little girls (who I had noticed carefully circling the gallery perusing each piece one at a time) sat down next to me and sort of contemplated it. One of them turned to me and confidently said, "I like it." I liked it too, and I liked the Rothko chapel in Houston when I was there a while back, so I am looking forward to the biography and this book of essays that I hope I get.

angie kritenbrink

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