Wednesday, June 3, 2020

An artist for the COVID-19 era?

Cape Cod Morning, Edward Hopper, 1950
In the June 8 issue of The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl writes about a show currently running at the Beyeler Foundation, Switzerland's premier museum of modern art, outside Basel. The show is called "Edward Hopper: A Fresh Look at Landscape".

Schjeldahl's article is titled "Apart: Edward Hopper's Solitude". The writer suggests that Hopper, "the visual bard of American solitude ...  speaks to our isolated states these days with fortuitous poignance."

After making comparisons between Hopper's paintings and Hitchcock's cinematography, and after discussing the dynamic of Hopper's marriage to artist Josephine Nivison, Schjeldahl concludes that Hopper explores "a condition in which, by being separate, we belong together."

A similarly perceptive article on the subject by Jonathon Keats, "Life Under Lockdown Resembled an Edward Hopper Painting – and a New Hopper Retrospective Offers a Picture of Our Future" appears in this month's Forbes magazine.

Keats begins his piece by quoting a tweet from the writer Michael Tisserand, dating back to the middle of March: "We're all Edward Hopper paintings now." Writes Keats,
Tisserand's words struck a chord. Within a couple of weeks, his tweet had garnered more than two hundred thousand likes. People responded by posting coronavirus-inspired parodies of Nighthawks, showing the diner completely vacant. There were even articles in The Guardian and ArtNews debating whether Tisserand was right."
What do you think? Could it be that Edward Hopper (1882-1967) is in fact the artist for our time?

Parody of Hopper's Nighthawks, artist unknown

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