The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

This Week's Hopper #17

People in the Sun (1960)

1 comment :

justjack said...

Utterly amazing. I love Hopper, but this really strikes me as different from his other works. Is this like the most faces he ever put into one picture?

It also strikes me as a very programmatic piece, almost like a gloss on the opening lines of "America the Beautiful:"

o beautiful, for spacious skies
for amber waves of grain
for purple mountains' majesty
above the fruited plain
America, America
God shed His grace on thee"

Except, that is, for the guy in the second row reading the book. His posture prohibits the shedding of God's grace on him.

Or perhaps it's that guy's willful refusal to admit the possibility of such a presence, and the folks in the front row with the dopey beatific looks on their faces are meant to be viewed contemptuously. I dunno.

If that guy with the book is perhaps a stand-in for Hopper himself, then he kind of occupies the same position in this picture as Norman Rockwell did in the awesome "University Club," which you showed at