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Opening Arguments

Aloneness within the congregation

I just stumbled across this nearly three-year-old NPR piece on my favorite painting by one of my favorite artists. "Nighthawks" for some reason has always reminded me of the Powers hamburger place rather than a typical diner. I can just imagine somebody walking by on Harrison Street in the 1940s, looking in and wondering who the people were and where they would go next. That was Edward Hopper's genius. His paintings create such a sense of isolation that they suck us in and make our very observation of the captured scenes another kind of isolation. This painting is so powerful because it is a particular kind of isolation -- aloneness in the middle of congregation -- that we have all experienced. I've always thought that "Nighthawks" could be the stimulus for a short-story contest asking writers to create something the painting could illustrate.

Posted in: Our town


Thu, 08/18/2005 - 6:47pm

I tend to like the Impressionists and Fauvists (especially Matisse), but among the Realists Hopper is my favorite. If you really want to appreciate the feeling of isolation, you need to study his paintings showing one person lost in a bare landscape. But I would like to read some of those "Nighthawk" short stories. Is this another blog challenge?