Keith Mayerson


View from the Rock


In painting this work I was thinking of the hopes and aspirations of myself, New York City, and America. My husband and I, for a short while, lived on 46th street, between 5th and 6th, in a "haunted' apartment, where we unwittingly were above a mob-owned bordello. I would escape to the roof, and in my despair, would paint the view Rockefeller Center in plein air, looking towards NYC, like so many others, to achieve our dream. When I first took this picture, just a few years ago, we were in a much better place, and it was exciting to be on top of the Rock, looking at the incredible view, but also how, in the sunset, it seemed like the entire city was looking towards a brighter future. Now, as I live in southern California, teaching as a full tenured professor at USC, I feel that my goals back in those time have largely been reached, but personally, could climb even higher. More importantly, as a nation suffering under such strife in our current times, I painted this image with the news in the background, alternating with my favorite music of the Rolling Stone magazine top 500 album canon. The news for me speaks truth to power, and especially for the last two years, it has been THE check and balance for our government, and now with a new House with many woman, POC, LGBTQ and sensitive white men, there is a more hopeful future for us. The sunset also though could signify the waning power of our great city and nation, but also how it can still stand strong against all odds. Every window for me symbolizes a person or people, and how together, in this fantastic city of luminaries and bright lights, we can put our heads, talents, and energy together to continue to achieve what it is that this America has been built by the founding fathers for life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. As the micromanaged world of the painting becomes almost abstract, I also think of Broadway Boogie Woogie, the Mondrian that rocks my world, for me the dynamism that encapsulates the pulse and energy that makes New York great. Rockefeller Center is one of my most favorite buildings, and the Top of the Rock--which also broadcasts some of my current favorite television and historically has brought amazing content to the world, it seems like one is standing on the antenna of American culture, beaming out culture to the world to make it a better place.