Listening to Art

08.04: Barnett Newman, Shining Forth (To George)

Download (MP3).

Listening to Art, by William Denton.

Volume eight, number four: Shining Forth (To George) by Barnett Newman.

Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.

We first heard Barnett Newman in three issues of volume one. Volume one number five, Vir Heroicus Sublimis, includes some biographical information, and volume one number seven was the first of five recordings of Voice of Fire. In volume one number six, Day One, I quoted something Newman said in Emile de Antonio’s documentary Painters Painting, transcribed in Barnett Newman: Selected Writings and Interviews, edited by John O’Neill (pp. 302–308). I will quote it again.

Some twenty-two years ago in a gathering, I was asked what my painting really means in terms of society, in terms of the world, in terms of the situation. And my answer then was that if my work were properly understood, it would be the end of state capitalism and totalitarianism. Because to the extent that my painting was not an arrangement of objects, not an arrangement of spaces, not an arrangement of graphic elements, was an open painting, in the sense that it represented an open world—to that extent I thought, and I still believe, that my work in terms of its social impact does denote the possibility of an open society, of an open world, not of a closed institutional world.

This is a painting, oil on canvas, 442 cm wide by 290 cm high.

Now let’s listen to Shining Forth (To George) by Barnett Newman, recorded at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, in Paris, on 15 July 2019.

Waveform of the field recording.

That was Shining Forth (To George) by Barnett Newman. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.

For more information and links to things I’ve mentioned, please visit

Listening to Art is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


All web sites accessed as of date of publication.

Barnett Newman Foundation. “The Barnett Newman Foundation.” The Barnett Newman Foundation.

Centre Pompidou. “Shining Forth (to George) (Surgit la lumière (Pour George)).” Navigart.

Denton, William. “Barnett Newman, Day One.” Listening to Art 01, no. 06 (01 August 2017).

⸻. “Barnett Newman, Vir Heroicus Sublimis.” Listening to Art 01, no. 05 (15 July 2017).

⸻. “Barnett Newman, Voice of Fire.” Listening to Art 01, no. 07 (13 August 2017).

O’Neill, John P., ed. Barnett Newman: Selected Writings and Interviews. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990.

Wikipedia, s.v. “Barnett Newman,”