Friday, October 31, 2008

A metaphor for painting

Barnett Newman, interviewed by Frank O'Hara for the public television show Art New York (1964):

Newman: I'm not in any way really involved in color as a love act. To me, color is an innate material, and I feel that it's — the proper description would be to call them colors, that anybody can buy and squeeze them out of tubes. And in that sense, it's my job to turn them into color. And I suppose my feeling towards colors is, well, it's more or less like the feeling that a baker has towards his material. I feel that it's like wheat, and my job is to turn the wheat into bread. If I don't have wheat, which might be blue, I use red, which is like rye.

O'Hara [laughing]: What about dough? It's white.

Well, you know, well, if you don't have rye, you use barley. But then of course, you — I suppose you can't make bread with barley, so I make whiskey. [Laughs.]
You can find the interview on the video page at

comments: 0