August 16, 2017

At the Late-Night Questionable Artwork Café...

P1140479

... I'm soliciting opinion on the possibly deplorable politics of this image. I think there are a lot of suspicious details here, and we may need to raise an outcry.

Or talk about anything you want. It's a café post.

More on the artwork later. I just thought opining on the political correctness of artwork was the order of the day.

Consider supporting my inquiry into questionable artwork by using The Althouse Amazon Portal.

ADDED: Here's the card (from the wall at the Indianapolis Museum of Art):



What a manipulative card! Eerily... disquieting... detached... separation... loneliness... transience... anonymity... Can't I have my own feelings? Are the older couple really so alienated from each other? Is the older woman not looking at the man? They don't look happy, but to me, they seem engaged.

Perhaps they're in town for a funeral. They've got their coats. They're going somewhere or they just got back. Something's up, something related to the world beyond this weird room. The young woman with the book is engaged with reading. Reading entails connection to another human being, the writer. Perhaps the young woman represents the youth the older couple have lost. Now, the older couple seem poised, tarrying, at the edge of the grave, represented vertically by the doorway to the dark restaurant. They're on the menu, food for worms.

The lobby is the antechamber of death. Outdoors is only a picture on the wall. There's no going back. The green line of life leads in from the left corner. The old lady has plopped into the chair and planted her prim little toes on the line. She looks with anxiety at the man who, one foot on the green line, lamely explains that they've got to keep going. The line turns a sharp corner, into the coffin/desk and the undertaker/desk clerk waits almost invisibly under the half-shown clock where their time is running out.

BUT: What is the argument that there is something politically objectionable here? Does the white man in the business suit dominate? Is he lording it over his wife? She looks intimidated. Is the other woman failing to notice, absorbed in the distracting delusion of her presumably nonfeminist reading material? The man and various phallic objects block progress toward the exits. One doorway (the entrance to a security room?) even has a cage-like door. The mountains (breastlike, signifying the female) are contained within a wooden picture frame. The alarmed woman's path to liberation is obstructed all around. The other woman doesn't even realize she needs to go. The green path mocks the idea of a path to freedom. It's not outdoors, like green grass, but an ugly stripe in the carpeting that ends in a sharp right turn into a dark corner. The older woman's toes extend into the path — a meek request — but the man is saying no. The other woman is far from the path, lost in a pre-printed dream. But this is not politically objectionable because we the viewers see it all and know we don't want to be there. Thus it works as critique and an inspiration to freedom and personal fulfillment. Judgment: Politically correct.

155 comments:

Paddy O said...

I like the relationships. I mean, each character has his own story. The puppy is a bit too much, but you have to over look things like that in these kinds of paintings. The way he's looking at her... it's almost... filthy. I mean, he's about to kiss her and she's pulling away. The way the leg's sort of smashed up against her... Phew... Look how he's painted the blouse sort of translucent. You can just make out her breasts underneath and it's sort of touching him about here. It's really... pretty torrid, don't you think? Then of course you have the onlookers peeking at them from behind the doorway like they're all shocked. They wish. Yeah, I must admit, when I see a painting like this, I get emotionally... erect.

Anonymous said...

Prof: Since you are an expert, what is going on in Trump's Brain (assuming he has one)? Why would he destroy a pizza to protect a small pie (right-wing extremists)? Why not just say repeat his Monday's statement on Tuesday and again and again. Just repeat it. His staff repeats it.

Why is no one in his family telling him - You won the Presidency. You are the POTUS. Why not bring people together? Why are you acting it as the campaign is ongoing and you have to be a Counter-Puncher? Get rid of phone for tweet.

How come Jared or Ivanka or Tiffany or Laura are telling him that? Why are they not telling him to Fire Bannon and Scarovino? Get rid of bad people. Period. Why no one is doing it? Are they all Stupid?

I mean the guy with .01 brain would not do what he is doing. I just do not understand this guy.

Cheers,
AP

buwaya said...

Its all about white privilege obviously.

Josephbleau said...

The sins of the fathers shall be visited on the generations to the end.

Anonymous said...

Prof: Also, He or Pence or any GOP is going to be crushed in 2020. Wait, GOP loses both House and Senate in 2018.

Why is Trump destroying GOP? Why is Trump so incredibly stupid? I mean, I would do anything to be in Oval Office or WH. I would not do anything like what he is doing.

Someone from Senate and House needs to tell him: You are not only screwing the country, but the party and everything.

Maybe people need to tell Trump: Donald Are you ready to hand the POTUS to Warren, Booker, Kamala Harris? If so, why not just resign now and give it to Pence, so he can taste defeat and not you. Go back to Apprentice!

anti-de Sitter space said...

"I just thought opining on the political correctness of artwork was the order of the day."

Yes, we all know that you're out of touch w/ what the country is doing.

But, it's adorable that you're compelled to explicitly state the obvious.

CR said...

That man is mansplaining something.

LordSomber said...

"Nighthawks II: The CNN-less Waiting Room"

Goofus & Gallant still available.

n.n said...

The women are lounging. The man's company was negotiated under false pretense, and now the woman in red is not budging. What is a gentlemen to do?

john said...

Jesus, am I supposed to find a puppy in that painting?

Ralph L said...

It looks like the lobby of a small hotel. The table with the cloth is way too close to the wall and doorway.

rhhardin said...

Trump isn't appeasing the KKK. He's appeasing me. The government doesn't discriminate on ideas, only law violations.

Hysteria isn't the law. Hysteria is just ratings.

DrSquid said...

Edward Hopper is my favorite artist, but I've never seen this one before. The lady in red is breaking the #1 rule of Hopper's subjects by looking at the gentleman in the brown suit. In all his works I've seen his characters seem to never acknowledge each other, even those sitting side by side. I guess he keeps her Hopper-legal by ignoring her. The only hard and fast rule of art remains: I don't know anything about it, I just know what I like

n.n said...

And now we wait for the trap. The painting was commissioned by a man, painted by a woman, and delivered on the back of an ass, right?

Henry said...

An obscure Hopper, for good reason.

LordSomber said...

I don't understand why the comely young blonde appears to be reading a book rather than a sensible news weekly like Time or Newsweek.

rhhardin said...

Klavan is hysterical about the KKK too. They're in our house, he says.

I haven't heard a KKK idea but they ought to be pretty easy to refute or ridicule when they come up.

Klavan must be the wife in the house.

Henry said...

It would be a good cover for a 1950s dimestore crime novel.

LYNNDH said...

I was going to say they are white therefore racist, but buwaya beat me too it.

American's Psycho is having a bad day ( I mean the blog poster above).

Rabel said...

I'm sorely disappointed that there's not a little ribbon you could buy and wear to express your sympathy for the Antifa cause. Picking just the right color combo would be the key. I would suggest something resembling a bulls-eye with black tassels. Seems like an entrepreneurial opportunity for someone of a capitalist persuasion. Ritmo?

The Klan has one. It's a pair of delicately intertwined nooses.

Their marketing function has always been a weak spot.

Henry said...

Stick to the painting, and this is a great comment thread.

rhhardin said...

Nighthawks

Laslo Spatula said...

She is drawing away from him while keeping her toes firmly on the Green Path.

He is nonchalant about the Green Path: one foot on, one foot off.

They have obviously discussed the meaning of the Green Path before.

He is tired of her talking about the Importance of the Green Path.

She mentally recoils from his obliviousness to the Green Path.

We do not get to see where the Green Path comes from, or where it leads.

The Bellman knows, but he is on another floor.

On that other floor the carpet is blood crimson.

I am Laslo.

Michael K said...

I love Hopper paintings.

If only I had seen one about 1935 when they were probably cheap.

Oh well, I was just a gleam in my father's eye then.

rhhardin said...

Hey the ARRL has 40wpm code practice files.

I can jury-rig a MP3 player and a speaker for the bicycle and get around the rotten propagation recently that limited on-air transmissions at 4pm, that went up only to 35wpm anyway.

If you bicycle listening to morse code you're never out of breath.

Henry said...

Hopper sure loved the gams.

Humperdink said...

"American's Psycho is having a bad day ( I mean the blog poster above)."

Some might say a bad year. He predictions make Paul Ehrlich's prognostications look stellar.

n.n said...

Oh, now I see it. The painting was commissioned by a woman, painted by a man, and delivered on the back of an ass. The women's closely held legs are clear evidence of latent male chauvinistic interpretation of a female chauvinistic work with the caption: Not tonight, honey.

Anonymous said...

The old gent is playing with something in his pocket. It's not change or his keys.
What ever could it be? Pocket pool?

Bob Boyd said...

Did you notice the 4th person in the painting?

tcrosse said...

The blonde in the blue dress is hanging around the lobby, wearing those fuck-me shoes and reading the J.C. Whitney catalog. Working girl ?

Humperdink said...

"Stick to the painting, and this is a great comment thread."

Nope, the rules have been previously established by our fine hostess.

rhhardin said...

The man is offering her walnettos.

Humperdink said...

The legging blonde is tonight's entertainment for someone.

Henry said...

Assume the man is speaking.

"Excuse me dear. The maitre de just got a call from the office. I need to go foreclose on a widow."

David said...

"Why don't you head upstairs, Gladys, so I can sport with the lady of the night."

Henry said...

@Humperdink -- Like the OED, I am descriptive; not prescriptive.

Richard Dillman said...

Its an Edward Hopper painting that someone titled "Hotel Lobby" done in 1952. It seems to reflect alienation, brevity, minimalism, and loneliness. Some critics see Hopper as a surrealist. It may reflect Hopper's own experience traveling with his wife, staying in small
Midwestern hotels. Compare this to his "Nighthawk " painting, or Iowahawk's take on that painting.

HT said...

The man is agreeing with the seated woman, "yes, this is what it’s come down to: the grand house is now a hotel, with strangers coming in and out." She's thinking, 'it's not even a great hotel. Look at that woman over there.' (Compare the older woman’s legs with the younger woman’s). In the older woman’s head, a shudder - now, I'm in... a ranch…house. Sitting, she doesn’t want to leave, sitting even in the oversized, nondescript, mass-produced chair.

n.n said...

Did you notice the 4th person in the painting?

A sexual predator who awaits the couple's departure, which explains the inclusion of the solitary blonde in blue. She has betrayed him in the past, and now it his turn for a counterprotest.

The painting is titled: Roundabout.

rhhardin said...

It's not a hotel lobby. It's an office on a higher floor.

Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

... I'm soliciting opinion on the possibly deplorable politics of this image. I think there are a lot of suspicious details here, and we may need to raise an outcry.

#HopperSoWhite

mockturtle said...

American Politico claims: You are the POTUS. Why not bring people together?

Were you born yesterday, Politico? Don't you realize that NO MATTER WHAT TRUMP DOES OR SAYS the left/media aren't going to like it? Hating Trump and disapproving of his every act or utterance is their whole raison d'être. Leave them alone to cry in their beer.

wildswan said...

The picture is by Bierstadt and that kind of Western romanticism reached Hitler through the work of May so the painting is literally Hitler. Then the columns are Ionic which indicates an interest in architecture. Hitler was interested in architecture so again literally Hitler. The young woman is blonde - I hardly need to explain how offensive that is.

Yet - are thing as they seem? Perhaps the woman in red is trans-gender - her face looks little sharp. And the "man" may be Kim Jung Un in disguise - all that weight is just pillows, he sneaks into Omaha to meet new people who share his taste for Emmental cheese. Kim has just revealed himself to the woman in red who shrinks in horror for she hates cheese, any cheese - and yet ... the man has nukes. Something to tell the guys later on. The girl is an FBI agent - a totally bald young Asian who speaks fluent Korean and has almost unraveled Kim's secret. But in the darkened dining room lurk Kim's protectors disguised as tables and chairs. And then ...

Laslo Spatula said...

Hopper Spillane...

I entered the lobby with my rod tucked in the pocket of my overcoat. Hotels are where love goes to die, and I am not going to get caught in any crossfire. The dame in the blue dress ignores my entrance, but I can smell her lavender perfume from where I stand: she is waiting for somebody, somebody she plans to be with when she takes off her shoes later in the night....

The older couple have the air of people with the best of their lives behind them. I see those people all the time on the streets and in the alleys and the greasy diners, but not usually so well dressed. No doubt they have a soft-handed son who dreams of killing them in their sleep and inheriting their money....

I am Laslo.

Jael said...

Now, the melancholy god protect thee,
and the tailor make thy doublet of changeable taffeta,
for thy mind is a very opal.
I would have men of such constancy put to sea,
that their business might be everything,
and their intent everywhere,
for that’s it that always makes a good voyage
of nothing.
Farewell.

Henry said...

Is the blond Hopper's wife? I wish I could remember. She appears in a lot of his paintings.

The old white guy is his rubberband man.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Another huge Hopper fan. The overpresence of Nighthawks in the culture has probably made him seem trite or obvious, every middlebrow's default choice of favorite artist, but when I first saw paintings like Gas, House at Dusk, and Conference at Night, I was floored by how strongly they evoked memories of light, sound, motion, open and enclosed spaces, even temperature and the texture of the air. That's some great freakin' art that can do that.

mockturtle said...

These people are either part of an Agatha Christie mystery or they are waiting to check into Fawlty Towers. Either way, they are screwed.

n.n said...

David:

the lady of the night

It's because she's blonde, right?

Did you notice that her legs are closely spaced? She is clearly not of a liberal persuasion. Her friendship is not accompanied with benefits a la mode. Get down on one knee; propose; say I do; commit to our Posterity; organize a community; through sickness and health, until the end of love.

chickelit said...

... I'm soliciting opinion on the possibly deplorable politics of this image. I think there are a lot of suspicious details here, and we may need to raise an outcry.

The man is standing erect like the two columns. He's probably on Viagra. It's so unfair that Viagra is covered by health insurance when labiaplasty is not.

rhhardin said...

It was before smartphones.

HT said...

I don't like when meat melts in your mouth and tastes like iron. Chicken livers fail.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

The blonde is Hopper's wife. Think he had a bit of a boob fetish but didn't overindulge it. Sacrificing for his art, man.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Mae West is propositioning Ted Turners grandfather. The woman in Blue is pretending to read, but is really admiring her own sexy shoes. Got them on sale at Gimbels and what a bargain.

Ralph L said...

Is that a fur coat the old bat is wearing?
The girl's skirt is too short for that era.

chickelit said...

... I'm soliciting opinion on the possibly deplorable politics of this image. I think there are a lot of suspicious details here, and we may need to raise an outcry.

Did Hopper ever depict anyone but whites? Isn't that suspicious? Shouldn't he suffer?

Rabel said...

The picture?

It's a blond sitting back at some distance watching other people chat. That's an OED on her lap.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Oops, wrong blonde. Definitely not Hopper's wife. If he was hitting that in '52 I'd be very impressed.

Henry said...

@wildswan -- that's an awesome call. I didn't see it until you mentioned it.

@The Cracker Emcee A -- He does it with buildings too. House by the Railroad is one of my favorites.

Chest Rockwell said...

The older woman's body language suggests a 'what the fuck?' attitude.

The whole painting has a sketch feel.

Rabel said...

I'd like to modify my 8:42:

It's a good-looking blond sitting back at some distance watching other people chat. That's an OED on her lap.

Thank you.

Henry said...

@The Cracker -- not the hitting that in '52. The memories of light, sound, and motion.

Henry said...

@Rabel -- LOL.

Ralph L said...

Rhhardin must eat fiber by the ton.

Ralph L said...

Both women have small feet.
Ionic columns are so 5th century.

Bill said...

Although the man appears to be staring in the middle distance (enduring the chill of his dowager wife), and not at the legs of the blonde, he has just finished raping her with his male gaze.

Ralph L said...

Real feathers in her hat, plucked from live birds.
The sheep for all the wool cloth were sheared in an unethical manner.
Incandescent lightbulb--should be CFL or LED in defiance of Althouse.
I can't imagine a hotel would have that light a carpet, and custom made, too.
The blonde isn't wearing hose--what a ho!
Skylight in an old hotel? WTF?

Henry said...

Those people aren't white. They're pasty.

Now I Know! said...

The narrative of today for the Althouse blog was "well we can't talk about our nation's current affairs because Trump so completely debased himself and all of those who support him (this blog)...SO LETS TALK ABOUT ART!"

gg6 said...

It's racist art done by that alt-right painter, Bopper..Moper, hopper?? it doesn't matter,. A white male who spent his entire life painting scenes of white people w/o a single person of color in sight - even though he probably had one clean his house and live in the basement. Also a typical male misogynist he forced his wife to work as a model w/o pay. His famous paintings hang in all the right wing capitalist museums like that Whitney place in nyc eg. One of them is a woman crawling up a grass hill while HitlerHopper does absolutely nothing to help her - probably his abused wife.....the one you show is alsovery typical: two rich white people in some expensive restaurant ignoring the low wage hat check girl who is hopefully reading Marx or my hero Saul Alinsky.

Richard Dillman said...

The older man its capitalist, an exploiter of the proletariat. His wife, who looks affluent and self-satisfied, benefits from the excess profit of his exploitation. He does not share his profits with the people. The young woman, whose legs seem oddly twisted, is a secretary, a member of the proletariate. She is closer to the capitalist than most workers, but she looks alienated. However, she has one pleasure, and that lies in reading books. She is probably reading "The Great Gatsby,"
which teaches her about the illusion of wealth and money. She may identify with Daisy Buchanan, but not with Jordan Baker. She may or may not be mesmerized by Gatsby's character. All the characters seem to live in a world of sensory deprivation; Gatsby's sensual parties are the antithesis of this scene.

The physical scene represent the austere, exploitative capitalist infrastructure. All the characters have a false consciousness, and need to be saved by marxist/leninist thought.

The Vault Dweller said...

That woman in blue dress has a hemline above the knee! Scandalous!

Henry said...

The carpet is green, which signifies envy. Envy is an invention of the Bourgeoisie.

LilyBart said...

So, mainstream leftist (Chris Cuomo, Jeffery Goldberg, etc) have now compared Antifa to American Soldiers fighting Nazis. I guess this means the mainstream left fully embraces and approves of Antifa - they OWN them now. Good luck with that!



exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

The art in the painting also looks questionable.

Fernandinande said...

I sometimes use Hopper's Gas Station pic as a background, and, fun fact! - his "House by the Railroad" was the inspiration for the "Bates Motel" house up on the hill.

The Vault Dweller said...

Envy is an invention of the Bourgeoisie.

Pretty sure 100,000 years ago Mug-mug was envious of Urg-lurg's ostentatiously large rock.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robt C said...

75 comments in, and nobody has mentioned High Heels?

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Welcome to the Hotel Califonia, prior to remodeling. They had the pink champagne on ice but the mirrors on the ceiling hadn't been installed yet.

Richard Dillman said...

The green line will lead the capitalist straight to Fidelity Investments where a trained investment advisor will help him
multiply his capital so he benefits from the unrewarded labor of his unhappy employees. He won't be able to use Fidelity's online tools, but the advisor will put his money in the Magellan Fund. He will have no need for bonds in his portfolio.
Fidelity will then charge him a very large commission, which they will then distribute clandestinely
to his employees.

Richard Dillman said...

High heels; maybe she works for trump.

David Begley said...

Great comments. The blonde reading the book is Trump's sister. Don't check me on the dates.

Henry said...

Pretty sure 100,000 years ago Mug-mug was envious of Urg-lurg's ostentatiously large rock.

Funny caveman names are also an invention of the bourgeoisie.

tim in vermont said...

I mean the guy with .01 brain would not do what he is doing. I just do not understand this guy.

Remember when you used to. come on this site and predict doom for him week after week before the election. There is a lot you don't understand. I used to think you were a parody account. Now I think you might actually believe the stuff you write.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ralph L said...

The mahogany was stripped unsustainably from the rain forest by grossly underpaid cishet male people of color without health insurance and without hearing and eye protection, as was the mill-working.

Unknown said...

Haven't read all the comments, but I assume you've seen the Museum of Bad Art in Boston? It's a fun place.

http://www.museumofbadart.org

Ralph L said...

Why is there a shadow on the girl's book? Does that symbolize her future drudgery as a suburban housewife after dropping out of PhD program in nuclear physics at MIT in order to marry a dim but well-hung mid-level executive?

Darrell said...

Pretty sure 100,000 years ago Mug-mug was envious of Urg-lurg's ostentatiously large rock.

Socialism began when Mug-Mug watched Urg-Urg find an untouched cave, visible through a tiny crack in the mountainside, and work most of the year to expand the crack into an entrance and hew another large rock for the door. When Urg-Urg and Min-Min were moving into their finished home, Mug-Mug took a large stone and beat Urg-Urg and Min-Min to death, fracturing their skulls and splattering brain matter on the mountain face. Mug-Mug, later, often wished that he had waited until the couple properly furnished the place and made a proper venting system for the wood fire.

Darrell said...

As for the art, it is apparent that Hopper didn't believe in a ruler or straightedge.

D 2 said...

Violet: Don't look so sour. Losers brood.
Tom: They don't see the need. Small minded, that's what they are.
Violet: God's end, stop the moaning. Let's get out and back to Chicago.
Tom: Train is tomorrow.
Violet: Awful little town. Don't know why I agreed to come along.
Tom: You can take a few days from the club and accompany me back to where I grew up, my dear.
Violet: Kathy is having her child in two months. Why I would want to come away to see a bootstop the wrong side of St Louis, my word.
Tom: They suggested a plaque. A statue would not ... fit.
Violet: Yes, yes, the sainted grandfather.
Tom: It may just be a bust to stand in the doorway of the library. I can see that is done. Whats right is right.
Violet: Are you done your brooding? My head is pounding
Tom: ... Might get a drink, i think.
Violet: Well. Don't wake me when you stumble in.
Tom:
Violet: Did you hear me? Or are you lost in your brooding? God's end, what a mixed up family you must have had!
Tom: ... Yes. Of course. Well, dont wait up. Old town, might wander round for a little look.

mockturtle said...

Darrell at 10:21: Masterful [or masterly--I'm never sure].

MadisonMan said...

I agree the landscape painting in this painting is of questionable value. Is it Yosemite?

Hopper paintings are the kind you can look at for quite a long time, and see something new over and over. I agree that the characters in this one look vaguely Christie-esque, although this is NOT Betram's Hotel.

William said...

It's got the Hopper vibe, but it doesn't deliver the full dose. The characters are insufficiently alienated. They don't even look purposeless. There's a story behind their lives, and they have a handle on the narrative.

Earnest Prole said...

Hopper once said, "A nation's art is greatest when it most reflects the character of its people." Since this painting does exactly that, it's obvious that it's politically incorrect. Plus the Hopper slogan sounds an awful lot like a precursor to "Make America Great Again."

Earnest Prole said...

"Jo (Hopper’s wife and muse) struck poses for each of the two female figures and marshaled an array of props. The seated matron with the piercing glance wears a plumed hat, fur coat, scarlet dress with a blue brooch, and sensible shoes on firmly planted feet. The younger blond woman, reading, wears a blue dress cut to above her elbows and knees, baring her arms and long legs that extend relaxed, slightly crossed, to feet scarcely wrapped in flimsy straps and balanced casually on spike heels. For Jo there was plenty to do, since Edward made at least ten preparatory sketches and the attitudes and dress of the women figure largely."

David-2 said...

That man wanted to sit down and read the damn paper, but he just knew those two harpies with their knees glued together - his wife and daughter - were going to start bitching about manspreading - even though he'd be on a separate cushioned chair that he paid for himself. It's just not worth it. He grabbed his coat and he's going out to his club.

Anonymous said...

It looks like a forgery. Too bright, colors off, too precise.

Lots of art forgery out there.

Story years ago about a Vermeer forger who was really good.

But it's all on a computer scene so maybe not

Earnest Prole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jael said...

It’s a visual exercise in pre-violent olfactory art.

The woman in red silently stares at the man, “I know you did it.” The man subtly gestures away with his hand toward the woman in blue, “she’s that far away, and I can smell it all the way over here.” The woman in blue won’t even look up and thinks, “now I know why the woman in red sat so far away, but it’s not far enough.”

Richard Dillman said...

The clerk, face-hidden, without an identity is symbolic of the alienated, faceless proletariate. His labor has no value, and he gains nothing but subsistance from his work. The Bierstadt style painting contains an antidote to alienation with its color, natural imagery, and Hudson River school style romantic imagery. The landscape painting presents a place for romantic merging with nature, far away from distorted capitalist relationships and means of production. All characters in the painting are alienated from nature. As the NYT recently reminded us, the communists back in the USSR were big on preserving nature, except, of course, when they weren't.

Unknown said...

Roger Sterling walks into the room and says, "Where do I begin?"

Earnest Prole said...

Note how the blue stone on the older woman’s necklace matches the blue of the icy mountain lake above her head, the dining room’s vulva-like entrance, and the unavailable younger woman’s dress. Did I mention that Jo, Edward Hopper’s wife, muse, and model for this painting, was sexually frigid?

David Baker said...

The couple appears to be waiting for the "Early Bird" special; half off on the pot roast. Or any price for a good pot roast.

I don't even know where you can get pot roast today. Cracker Barrel?

eddie willers said...

It's a good-looking blond sitting back at some distance watching other people chat. That's an OED on her lap.

Suck up.

David Baker said...

This sounds like Jim Acosta, but on the other hand it sounds like all of ‘em. Trump should play it back at them every time he’s at the podium.

SweatBee said...

On an earlier post, Ann asked, "Hmm. I'm dubious. If you want to distance yourself from alt-right because it's been dragged into an ugly place, why would you want a label that sounds almost the same? I note that Milo doesn't use the term (either spelling) in his book. It has an off-taste to me. I'm going to say: unorganic."

I am not an alt-right expert, but I get the impression that "alt-light" is not a term the alt-light crowd gave themselves. Spencer uses it as a derogatory term for them. In turn, they call his group "alt-reichtards"

If you're interested, here is a post by an alt-right blogger (incidentally also a member of LaRaza) that explains some of the differences between the various groups: All The News That's Fit To Fake

And here is his bullet list explaining what he thinks the alt-right principles are: What the Alt-Right Is

And here is a video from Gavin McInnes attempting to explain the same (his is newer than the other two): YouTube: What is the Alt-Right

Lem said...

... I'm soliciting opinion on the possibly deplorable politics of this image. I think there are a lot of suspicious details here, and we may need to raise an outcry.

I see ‪#Mansplaining‬

Lem said...

I take it Trumps ‪#Mansplaining‬ of Charlottesville was unsatisfactory.

Lem said...

The latest Scott Adams periscope sees bright spot from tragic Charlottesville.

https://twitter.com/scottadamssays/status/898045737967079428

Lem said...

About the statues... wasn't Lot's wife told not to look back?

https://goo.gl/images/AXmbJA

cf said...

@NPR news here in Oregon, @OPB, all three times i punched in today, the race was to spit out "white supremacist" as many times in each minute of air time as possible.

The earliest one showed the way, composing a sentence that used the incantation three times in less than 20 seconds. That man has talent.

Later I tuned in and it was less than 45 seconds of airtime before they whipped it out, that second speaker can sure hiss "su-prema-cyst", there is a lot of teeth action in that word, I would like a close-up, to see the spittle in his shiny white teeth as he says it.

Then a third time randomly this afternoon, and dang, within 15 seconds yet another unctuous virtued voice gnashing her teeth into it.

The phrase is a ghastly lie, but so useful for our enlightened overseers. We are experiencing weaponized News Theater. It is anti-American, anti-freedom, and journalistic treason.

Lots of Mute prayer now, most high Good, call us out each and every one.

Laslo Spatula said...

Looking at the painting, I am now getting a Kubrick "Shining" vibe.

Ullman: I don't suppose they told you anything in Denver about the tragedy we had in the winter of nineteen seventy.

Jack Torrance: I don't believe they did.

Ullman: My predecessor in this job left a man named Charles Grady as the winter caretaker. And he came up here with his wife and two little girls, I think were eight and ten. And he had a good employment record, good references, and from what I've been told he seemed like a completely normal individual. But at some point during the winter, he must have suffered some kind of a complete mental breakdown. He ran amuck and killed his family with an axe; stacked them neatly in one of the rooms in the West wing and then he, he put both barrels of a shot gun in his mouth.

Jack Torrance: Well, that is quite a story.

Ullman: Yeah it is. It's still hard for me to believe it happened here. It did, and I think you can appreciate why I wanted to tell you about it.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

God, when did his wife get so old? Sure, he felt the years, too, but she seemed calcified by them. What was it -- the summer of 1902 or 1903? -- when he awoke in the middle of the night, looked at her sleeping, and felt the almost unbearable urge to strangle her with his hands? This was back when his hands were strong, when his handshake was firm and always held for a moment longer than necessary. Now his hands were weaker, but then her wrinkled neck was weaker now, too...

Of course, he knew that if he killed his wife that night he would iinevitably have had to kill the children. Yes: sleeping in their beds, they wouldn't even see the flash from the end of the pistol, they would just slumber, forever. Would he then be weak and turn the gun on himself, or would he have the courage to slip out of the house and drive, drive, to California, perhaps, on a dark desert highway, cool wind in his hair, the warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air...

I am Laslo.

David Baker said...

The teacher will ask his art students to analyze the painting. My analysis would be as simple as Hopper intended; he liked the scene, plain and simple.

Beyond that, just a series of coincidences. The couple aren't hotel guests, they just came in off the street. Apparently they like the hotel restaurant, which isn't quite open - suggesting the time is 4:59pm, which explains why he's still standing. While the woman appears slightly agitated because she's hungry.

Th girl, on the other hand, is a hotel guest. She's expecting someone to meet her, then maybe a little tea. Her book suggests it's a man, that he's usually late, a good time to catch up on some reading.

Darrell said...

I was there that day--when the scene took place in the hotel lobby--I remember it well.

[Seated woman in red, to the distinguished looking gentleman] "You blew a fart, didn't you?"

David Baker said...

I'm watching the news (CNN) and they look dejected. Apparently Trump's Charlottesville comments were not the last straw.

Well, maybe he'll say something today, something that will finally be the last straw.

Kassaar said...

“The modeling for both women in the painting was done by his wife Josephine. After their marriage in 1920 she insisted on being the model for all of his female figures.” (W)

David Begley said...

David Baker:

CNN has been foaming at the mouth the last few days. Crisis!

tim in vermont said...

“With [Japanese] unemployment down to 2.8 percent, companies are starting to recognize the need to lock in staff before the hiring pool disappears … this means paying them more,” wrote Daniel Moss, the executive editor of Bloomberg News for global economics.

Whodathunkit? I mean besides Trump voters, whodathunk that unlimited illegal immigration is a sop to the wealthy and a burden on the poor? How many illegals exactly does it take to keep a string of polo ponies? A stable of racehorses? Many! And they better not complain about the hours, the lack of benefits, or the low wages, because there are plenty more where they came from desperate for a job!

tim in vermont said...

Did I mention that Jo, Edward Hopper’s wife, muse, and model for this painting, was sexually frigid?

Not only sexually frigid, but refused to allow any other woman to model for him! I think that those two tidbits together explain this painting as thoroughly as anything. It's about what he has, and what he longs for but can't have.

tim in vermont said...

I don't really have any idea if either of those factoids are true, BTW. Just riffing on comments.

rhhardin said...

Art historians Vicki Hearne at the Metropolitan.

The main thing is that this [Degas] jockey is _not dead_. The dark question is, Why is the art historian so eager for him to be dead? What twists of the human mind, what devious horrors of bland intellect are we here confronted with?

The art historian is eager for him to be dead because our species is uncomfortable when art and newspapers tell different stories, and newspapers tend to win out

David said...

"The one where Althouse shows that she can bullshit with the best of them."

That art education is shining through.

Hagar said...

Being a Philistine, I could not tell you why, but that is a good painting.

Triangle Man said...

She looks at him reproachfully as they wait for dinner to begin at the hotel restaurant. "The EarlyBird starts at 5. That's 10 more minutes", he says. Another momentary diversion on the road to the grave. Meanwhile, across the lobby, young life in full blossom reads Agatha Christie and ponders her options.

edward irvin said...

where is the "eerily illuminated desk clerk"?

Big Mike said...

Perhaps they're in town for a funeral.

No, wearing red to a funeral would be in very bad taste. And the man is in dark blue, not black. When you're old enough for your hair to turn white, you buy a black suit because you're going to be going to funerals.

They've got their coats. They're going somewhere or they just got back.

They've come down from their room and are waiting for some local friends to pick them up and take them to a nice restaurant because the hotel's restaurant is closed for renovation.

Something's up, something related to the world beyond this weird room. The young woman with the book is engaged with reading. Reading entails connection to another human being, the writer. Perhaps the young woman represents the youth the older couple have lost.

Or perhaps she's a local prostitute killing time while looking for some traveling salesman to take her up to his room. I mean, if you're going to get fanciful...

Now, the older couple seem poised, tarrying, at the edge of the grave, represented vertically by the doorway to the dark restaurant. They're on the menu, food for worms.

Good Golly Miss Molly! What a morbid pair of sentences for a woman in her sixties to write! This septuagenarian does not appreciate it.

Big Mike said...

where is the "eerily illuminated desk clerk"?

Far right, about 2/3 of the way up from the bottom. He's behind the lamp with the green lampshade.

Ralph L said...

Edward, right click the photo to its own tab and you can see it up close.

Big Mike said...

I'm watching the news (CNN) and they look dejected. Apparently Trump's Charlottesville comments were not the last straw.

@David Baker, here's the thing. I'm an old man and I can remember fifty years ago when Democrats loudly -- and correctly -- defended the rights of the communists and civil rights demonstrators and anti-war demonstrators to protection under the First Amendment. Althouse perhaps remembers this also, though she's quite a bit younger, but certainly as a former Con Law professor she knows the cases and arguments cold.

Trump is right to point out that he is not defending the twisted ideology of the neo-Nazi marchers, but the people who started the fighting were the counter-demonstrators. Even the Washington Post admits as much.

When one finds connections between Jason Kessler, the man who organized the nedo-Nazi march on Charlottesville, and Terry McAuliffe, the Virginia governor who ordered the police to stand down, one smells a rat.

Ralph L said...

Is there a hotel lobby anywhere with white rugs and off-white upholstery?
Is this a white supremacist painting?

Hagar said...

It is a "good" painting because you could blur all the details or change out the people to tell quite a differents story, and it would still be a "good" painting. Perhaps not quite as good, but still good.

David said...

The light sources are very interesting. There is light coming from above (skylight or window), from behind the young woman (window? electric light?), from an unseen door on the left and upwards from a lamp at the desk clerk. The room behind the man (Althouse's crypt) is darker with no direct light source, just the bleed from the lighted room.

The perspective is interesting too. The man is very large. If the seated blond woman stood and walked over next to him (she is smaller even in the foreground) he would tower over her. The older women is reacting to the man. Her body pose is composed, rather prim, but her facial expression seems startled or alarmed. Not much is happening. But something may be about to, or perhaps some past happening is about to have consequence.

I hadn't paid much attention to the patterns on the floor, but as althouse points out they do create a sense of flow in an otherwise seemingly static scene. But it's not static. The interaction between the older man and woman is leading to something. Perhaps something routine, perhaps not.

A moment. A snapshot. Leading to another moment. Leaving it to your imagination and powers of observation.

The blond looks like my mother looked at about the time this was painted. A lot like her. Hi Mom.

Quaestor said...

... Althouse shows that she can bullshit with the best of them.

The artsy-fartsy kicks off in high gear with "Perhaps they're in town for a funeral". Everyone with a decent sense of propriety knows a woman does not wear red to a funeral. (Now if the corpse is Bill Clinton...) Unless the lady is the widow heliotrope is preferred, otherwise a dark blue or an earth tone.

It really gets rank with "Perhaps the young woman represents the youth the older couple have lost."

Quaestor's superior narrative follows,
Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Bigly are in town on business, namely the acquisition of yet another small town savings bank to add to the growing Bigly Banking and Trust Corporation. As usual, it's a midwestern town with nothing much to offer in the gustatorial department. They are waiting for their chauffeur to deliver the Packard to the front entrance. As Raoul is most competent and prompt it will only be a brief minute, thus Hugh remains standing, topcoat at the ready, while his good wife Maureen Jessup (of the Yarmouth Jessups) Bigly has taken a momentary seat. They don't look too happy because they aren't. They're off to the swankiest joint in Smallerborough, but even then it will be a miserable fare that Consuela wouldn't offer to the cat. But they must make the appearance of pleasure as plausible as possible, so as not to offend the locals. Ergo he is attired in a sober London-tailored three-piece suit, and she is turned out in her elegant black sable coat and hat over a cherry-colored frock set off with a large emerald pendant.

Little do they realize that an employee sits only a few feet away. Audrey Beauchamp has only been in town for a week. She has come from distant Sault Ste. Marie to take up the position of junior comptroller at the very bank the Biglys have just acquired. She has lived in this hotel since her arrival and will continue to do so for some few weeks to come as she seeks more permanent and agreeable lodgings. Since she knows almost no one in Smallerborough she contents herself with a good book in the evenings after a light supper. She's lonely, but not unhappy. She knows that with her good Nordic looks, her long, shapely legs (thrown out before her enticingly), and her comfortably middle-class income it won't be long before Audrey makes the acquaintance of a young attorney or physician.

Anthony Maguire, night porter at the Smallerborough Arms, is an honors student at Smallerborough State College. He's facing his final exams. How he performs may well set the tone for his entire career. Ace them and he's a certain candidate for a scholarship; flunk and he might as well make the hospitality industry his life's work. When ever he can spare a moment he's cramming, just as he is now. He's thinking what a pedantic ass Spinoza could be.

Earnest Prole said...

Not only sexually frigid, but refused to allow any other woman to model for him! I think that those two tidbits together explain this painting as thoroughly as anything. It's about what he has, and what he longs for but can't have.

Your first sentence is confirmed by Hopper's 2007 biography, which makes your last sentence quite perceptive.

Known Unknown said...

The second bullet point is the only one that is relevant to the painting itself.

A museum's job is not to interpret art.

Laslo Spatula said...

The painting is about sex.

Every painting is about sex.

This includes Picasso's 'Guernica'.

And everything done by Jackson Pollack. Obviously.

I am Laslo.

Darrell said...

And everything done by Jackson Pollack. Obviously.

Yeah. Everyone knew that was supposed to be jizz.

Ann Althouse said...

About the funeral and the red dress: It's unsettling. Like Bette Davis in the movie "Jezebel." (In the Civil War era, a widow wears red dress to a dance, and things go very badly for her. I forget exactly what. But the dress is memorable. And it's a black and white movie!)

It's funny that people keep imagining the young woman as a prostitute. But she's in a blue dress.

Really, the colors here are pretty bad. I don't think Hopper had much in mind when he chose them.

And the worst thing about the painting is the inexplicable lighting. There's emphasis on darkness in a few places, but what explains the light pouring in from the ceiling. People keep saying "skylight," but a building like that wouldn't have a skylight at the lobby level.

Quaestor said...

About the funeral and the red dress: It's unsettling.

It's unsettling only because of the "funeral" theory. When something is "unsettling" the best policy is to take a well-stropped Occam's razor to your theory.

Quaestor said...

This includes Picasso's 'Guernica'.

Everybody in Guernica is taking in the butt. Hard. Except for the guy with the candle. Nobody wants to do such an idiot. Can't he see the electric light? And the bull. He's waiting for Pasiphaë. And waiting, and waiting...

Sam L. said...

Desk clerk, not recognizable (or discernible) in any way, ...

Caligula said...

If the scene were contemporary there would be a TV where the painting hangs, but everyone would still be staring at/swiping/tapping their phones anyway. And, the "individual separation" depicted in the painting would be much more complete.

Because, when this was painted a hotel lobby was still a shared public space. Whereas today there are no such spaces.

Ralph L said...

But she's in a blue dress.
A rather short one for the 40's. Alone in a hotel lobby. No hose. Bright lipstick. Is that rouge? I was going to add extremely blonde hair, but I won't.

No burqa
No male relative

Ann Althouse said...

"No hose."

How can you tell whether or not a lady in a panting is wearing sheer nylons or not?!

Ann Althouse said...

I mean, what does it even mean? There is no real flesh, only paint. What how would you depict nylons? I mean, I think Vermeer could figure out a way, but Hopper is fairly crude in his technique. I can't imagine he'd have a way to show the bare leg/nylons distinction.

Earnest Prole said...

Really, the colors here are pretty bad. I don't think Hopper had much in mind when he chose them. And the worst thing about the painting is the inexplicable lighting.

“Hotel Lobby” is considered one of Hopper’s masterworks, but your mileage obviously varies.

Ralph L said...

Did they have sheer hose in the 40's?
To me, it's just too bright not to be bare flesh. Its lifelike quality is enhanced by the deadness of the rest of the painting.

Ralph L said...

She could have painted-on seams since this is during the wartime shortage of new hose.

jaed said...

If you think the woman in blue is bare-legged:

Is the woman in red wearing hose? Why or why not.

EMyrt said...

When I was eleven, my parents would let me take the commuter train to the Loop to spend the day by myself at the Art Institute. I used to stand in front of Nighthawks and imagine myself the woman in the painting. That fantasy would not have been so compelling in the Hotel Lobby.