Weighing nearly one ton, The Rose by Jay DeFeo is one of the most complicated works in the Whitney’s collection to install. On February 15, the work was installed at the Whitney Museum as part of the exhibition Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective (opening February 28). The work arrived in New York from California, where the Whitney’s exhibition had finished a successful run at SFMOMA. Photographer Paula Court documented the installation that day from start to finish.
Jay DeFeo is best known for this monumental painting, entitled The Rose, which she started in 1958 and completed over the course of eight years. The piece consists of white and gray paints layered so thickly onto the canvas that, in some ares, the paints are almost eight inches thick. She used so much oil paint that she called it “a marriage between painting and sculpture.”
The Rose measures 7.5 x 11 feet and weighs 2,300 pounds,
The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.
She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”
I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.
"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.
She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…”
"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!" she told me.
After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.
Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.
At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.
As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.”
As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.
You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it!There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.
If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.
If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.
Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.
The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”
She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.”
She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.
At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.
Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be .When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they’ll really enjoy it!
These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.
REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL.
We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give (via NedHardy).
Some say love it is a river that drowns the tender reed Some say love it is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love it is a hunger an endless aching need I say love it is a flower and you its only seed
It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance It’s the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance It’s the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live
When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long and you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows lies the seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose
"A rose for the pretty lady? Straight from the castle gardens." Allan said with a cheeky wink, holding out the blossom towards her with a flourish.
Danielle smiled at him and took the rose from him. “Thank Allan. It’s beautiful.” She placed the rose in her hair and kissed his cheek to say thank you. “How did you manage to sneak in and get it without being caught?” She giggled slightly.