Susan Rothenberg: Emotions | Art21 “Extended Play”

By | October 7, 2019


Susan Rothenberg: Emotions I think I care about beauty, but I don’t go for it. I hope it sometimes might be in there. I think maybe more in terms of a beautiful moment than trying to figure out what beauty is. I hope that my paintings can be emotional moments for people. I just know that it takes a certain emotional lock in for me to commit to a painting. And a certain timidity at first, and then the second painting, and then I might go back to the first painting, And then force some more bravery on it, And say, “Oh, this is okay. You can handle this.” I have given myself full range of the painting. I don’t limit myself in anyway. I know I’m not a landscape painter. I know that. I know that’s sombody else’s job. And I don’t think I’m a still life painter. But I would like to think that I can paint portraits, which I have not successfully done. I’d like to think that the whole thing is wide open and that I don’t have to abide by any rules, anymore. But I was happy to when I was young, because it looked like a very radical world. And I really wanted to be part of it. We had to put that dog down, because she was in kidney failure. And I was holding her before the doctor did that, and I wanted to make a painting about it. How it felt, to remember her by. And I’ve had the arm… Everywhere you see this darker tone, I’ve had the arm there. [chuckles] I had it like this, like this, then I could not figure out where the feet should be, Then, I couldn’t figure out where the arm might be coming of the body. And finally, I decided to stop worrying about it. All I wanted was that dog held there, And my sneakers grounding the bottom of the painting. I just felt so sad, and so… I felt the loss of this dog quite a lot. So I just try to recover her for a moment in the painting. It’s completely personal. And I could see that the hand’s not painted well enough… That one is, that one isn’t. [WOMAN, OFF SCREEN] Which one? [ROTHENBERG] The left hand is just fine. It’s doing what it needs to do. This one is blobby. [laughs] It needs some wristbones, and some fingernails, and some definition. In the paintings where it’s there–the tenderness–I work for it. I’m not afraid of it. If I could put my bleeding fucking heart in there, I would. [chuckles] But as it is, it’s her and my arms and my shoes. You know, in the most all-embracing kind of send off that I could give her.

19 thoughts on “Susan Rothenberg: Emotions | Art21 “Extended Play”

  1. Andy Cook Post author

    I absolutely hate how she speaks about her work, you can see that she has such a large ego, and truly thinks her paintings are genius. But for me she is one of the worst living recognized painters. She is almost as bad as Julian Schnabel.

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  2. lossennedlorwen Post author

    I don't see where people are getting "large ego" from. She is actively critiquing her own work, pointing out what she thinks is working & what isn't. And if she feels so strongly that she swears- which happens /once/, so people can stop being prudish about it- then she swears. And many people smoke, even though it's not the best decision. I may not be a huge fan of her work, no, but honestly, people, lay off the woman. You sound childish attacking her like this.

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  3. Peasandoats Post author

    Most artists are pretty insecure about their works unless pompous a-holes. If someone points out that my art is a failure, I'm too vulnerable to defend myself, because I already know it is a failure.

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  4. Cat McNichol Post author

    Susan Rothenberg is an absolute painting genius. She is a goddess in my world of art, and whether or not she smokes shouldn't influence whether you "like" her art or not. Goodness, grow the F* up, people. Reminds me of Marilyn Monroe's quote:
    "Nice women don't make history."

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  5. JeffersonDinedAlone Post author

    She is, of course, a no-talent hack, and a useless fraud, however, besides that, why are so many so-called artists who are female so damn butt-ugly? Aren't there any extraordinarily attractive artists (so-called or otherwise) out there who are female?

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  6. jack beggs Post author

    She lives, she breathes, and she owns her work. I don't see how one cannot call her an artist. She left everything to be with her work, which is more than most people can ever say. A true artist, and that's all.

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  7. jack beggs Post author

    And, @JeffersonDinedAlone, you judging how "attractive" she is, and having no claims to backup your "no talent-hack" comment, are yourself quite an ugly piece of work.

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  8. Walking Nerf Post author

    Great interview. Susan has some really nice statements in this.

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  9. stillpaints Post author

    She should try to express the misery of her tobacco addiction.

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  10. Bro. Chronicles Post author

    Just seems like a painter to me. She can paint what she wants. Everyone critiques there own work and have a right to. Just like everyone critiques their hair or how they look in an outfit. People are so stupid and try to place artist in a box, jus Shutup!

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  11. BeginPanicAttack Post author

    if i could put my bleeding fucking heart in there i would

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  12. Kaleigh Post author

    Love your honesty and style, super cool to be inspired by a beautiful and emotionally deep woman!

    Reply
  13. Coffeehead Duck Post author

    I can't exactly remember, but I think she's married to Bruce Nauman.

    Reply

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