RACKSHAW DOWNES. I posted here on Alain de Botton’s position that there is “an unwarranted prejudice which deems it peculiar to express overly powerful feelings of admiration towards a gas tanker or a paper mill ” and here on de Botton’s special praise for the beauty of electric pylons. The Wall Street Journal for July 14 had a review by Richard B. Woodward of a retrospective of the works of Rackshaw Downes. These are paintings that might satisfy de Botton. (They certainly satisfy me.) The titles of his paintings include “Sprowl Bros. Lumber Yard, Searsmont, ME,” (1978-80), “U.S. Scrap Metal Gets Shipped for Reprocessing in Southeast Asia, Jersey City”, and “Garbage Arriving in Barges at Fresh Kills is Hauled to the Top of the Landfill in Athey Wagons.” There is even something that might please de Botton: a painting in which electrical wires are prominent: “At the Confluence of Two Ditches Bordering a Field with Four Radio Towers.” There is a slideshow in the Wall Street Journal article which indicates how beautiful these paintings are.

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