Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mr. Rogers and Mr. Rockwell

I don’t think that it’s any mistake that Norman Rockwell painted “The Problem We All Live with,” and Fred Rogers began his iconic television series in the mid-1960s. At the time, Norman Rockwell and Fred Rogers both have the appearance of being a kind of square. They weren't. They were completely with the times.

I remember reading in one of Rockwell’s biographies that he felt he couldn’t go back to making the art that he had made pre-1960s because he realized that the world was imperfect and he wanted to do something to make a change of it. Mr. Rogers neighborhood and several of Norman Rockwell’s paintings express a kind of gestalt for the mid-1960s that I think some of us are returning to. We kind of got comfortable with all of the freedoms and fairness that had been legislated by previous eras and now with the rebirth of racism and inequity we need to return to some fundamental core values that these two figures were trying to get us to think about a little bit more than 50 years ago.