April 3, 2020April 3, 2020 by CIDU Bill New American Gothic [OT] Image Art, Bill Bickel, OT American Gothic, Coronavirus 12 Comments Related
I saw a comment somewhere, interestingly comparing this to the similarly treated Nighthawks and Seurat’s Sunday in the Park. Nighthawks , they point out, is already about isolation.
I hever considered Nighthawks to be about isolation, though that’s the general concensus. I was pleased a few weeks ago to read an old interview with Hopper in which he said, contrary to everybody’s interpretation, that was NOT what he had in mind when he painted it.
Just to elaborate: my perspective could be a bit different because I AM a nighthawk — I’m writing this at 4am — and I’ve often hung out and bonded with others like myself. In my mind, the people in the painting aren’t friends, but they see one another every night at 1am and there’s a certain undefined fellowship.
Just my opinion, no more valid than anybody else’s of course, but that’s what makes art interesting.
The first thing that occurred to me when I saw this (elsewhere) was that they should have been in separate rooms (even if they are in the same family, it would have enhanced the “fear” factor).
P.S. The second thing I thought (when I first saw this here at CIDU) was that the clock in WordPress is going haywire again: this post popped up in between two other posts that I had already seen.
And I mostly agree with you, Bill, in not feeling too chilled or oppressed when viewing Nighthawks.
(But i’m not going to stop asking “Where is the door to the outside, for the customers?”)
I don’t get the argument that the original Nighthawks is about isolation. There are four people in the painting. Two of them are a couple, and they are talking to a third person, the server. None of these people are isolated. The fourth person is by himself, but the focus is less on him than on the others, and I don’t see why the painting should be seen as from his perspective.
Mitch4, the diner extends to the right of the frame. Surely the entrance is there.
This is worth a chuckle, and I know it’s a common perception, but is it really in the spirit of the stay-at-home order to not leave the house to be in your own yard? How is the couple in the original painting any safer than this one? The key is staying away from other people.
I find “Nighthawks” to feel cozy, homey, and comforting. To me, it’s all about being introverted in a community, being in a place where you can still be with people and yet they’ll leave you alone.
Exactly my feeling, ianosmond (except you said it better).
‘Hopper denied that he purposefully infused this or any other of his paintings with symbols of human isolation and urban emptiness, but he acknowledged that in Nighthawks “unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city.”’
I haven’t seen it as being about isolation either. I think part of that is because of bit of story that appeared in an early issue of The Tick comic book. The scene starts with an image based on Nighthawks, but with the protagonist in it. Then it goes inside the diner and there is interaction between the people. It is funny and it introduced me to the work, which I hadn’t known before.
I would still like to know where this came from. Googling (see aitchteeteepeeess://tridubya.google.com/search?q=%22new+american+gothic%22+-criselda+2020&tbm=isch&source=univ&client=firefox-b-1-d&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjZv4WWkdDoAhVEYjUKHf51Dg0Q420oCnoECAoQIQ&biw=1024&bih=590 ) got me a thousand or so, including a couple with the couple wearing face masks, but no self-quarantining.