May 15, 2007

Edward Hopper’s negative feng-shui

Peter Schjeldahl reviews the Edward Hopper retrospective at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
“The scale of the paintings is indifferent, in the way of graphic art. Their drawing is graceless, their colors acrid, and their brushstrokes numb. Anti-Baroque, they are the same thing when looked at up close and when seen from afar. I believe that Hopper painted with reproducibility on his mind, as a new function and fate of images in his time. This is part of what makes him modern—and persistently misunderstood, by detractors, as merely an illustrator. If “Nighthawks” is an illustration, a kick in the head is a lullaby…” The New Yorker, May 21 issue | Slide show

In the Boston Globe, Geoff Edgers writes about a recent visit to the Cape Ann community depicted in so many of Hopper's paintings. "For many in Cape Ann, the MFA show has led to a complicated mix of emotions. There's excitement at seeing their houses as museum pieces, in some cases for the first time. Still, the paintings offer a disappointing reminder of how their neighborhoods have fallen into disrepair since Hopper painted them. ...'It's painful to look at the before and after pictures, just heartbreaking,' said Prudence Fish, a retired real estate broker who recently quit the Gloucester Historic District Commission because she felt it wasn't working hard enough to preserve important properties. 'What's left of old Gloucester is now buried under layers of vinyl siding.'" Read more.

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