Rockwell and the Law of Opposites
In the New Yorker, Lee Siegel sheds light on the oft-seen contradiction between artists and their art in her review of Deborah Solomon’s biography “American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell.”
In contrast to his idealized paintings of happy hetero Americans, Rockwell is described as a depressed, compulsively obsessive, and “a repressed homosexual.”
You might call this condition of artistic creation the law of opposites, which can be a displacement of identity, as in the case of the gay composers and actors of yesteryear, or a transmutation of identity. When Irving Berlin, the son of poor Russian-Jewish immigrants, wrote “White Christmas,” he was both hiding his Jewishness and fulfilling his ambition to be not just accepted by his new country but socially ascendant in it.