“My tipping point regarding Rockwell had come in conversation with Willem de Kooning. Our greatest modern painter quite adored Rockwell—as he did most things about the United States since arriving here, as a twenty-two-year-old Dutch stowaway, in 1926. (He reminisced, ‘My Communist friends in Greenwich Village said America is a lousy country. I told them they were nuts.’) De Kooning emboldened me to write something that was in the air to be written.”
– Peter Schjeldahl, writing about Norman (not John) Rockwell. I stumbled across this literally hours after linking to Joyce Millman’s piece on Richard Harris, and though we’re now in the art world as opposed to the pop world (and though it would be foolish to even begin to compare the impact of one-hit-wonder Harris with American-icon Rockwell), it drives home the point for me, yet again, that there are no longer any lonely works of popular art, in any field. Anything that is significant, at least in terms of popular appeal, will at some point have its case made for it, even if the initial resistance towards it is strong.
(I need to read one of Schjeldahl’s books. Hardly at all familiar with his writing, but one day, I got curious about him — not sure what tipped me off — and downloaded a couple podcasts on iTunes — one was a lecture he gave — and spent a good portion of the time laughing hard. He’s a real wisecracker, an almost Chuck Eddy-like balloon-puncturer.)