This is a question about a certain intention artists have. Although it has come up before in my readings, it didn't register the way it does now. When viewing art, I move back and forth, closer and farther away, to get a different perspective or to observe more details. But I don't have a precise memory of whether I felt something particular from how the work was placed. Next time, I will keep in mind what several artists have clearly articulated about space around their work.
Dorothea Rockburne (1932- ), a Canadian abstract painter, stated something similar to Gruen in 1986:
I didn't want my work to "move." I wanted it to sit back on the wall, with a distance between me and it. I did not want my work to be an intrusion into anybody's space or life. I didn't want it to blast. I wanted it to sit and beckon.
But that's exactly what Rothko wanted. Some critics thought he was obsessed with how to hang his work. In 1954, he gave specific details to ensure that viewers stand near it:
What do you notice when viewing artwork: Are you gently beckoned to come closer or powerfully sucked in? Which do you prefer?
Are small paintings intimate and large paintings overwhelming simply because of their size? Or does something else make a difference? How would you describe that something else?