ARTSPIEGELMAN: Hopper is a regionalist—I’ve always liked the American regionalists like Reginald Marsh and Grant Wood—but the region that Hopper occupies is basically the desolate inner landscape of America.
In Early Sunday Morning, I also was aware of how thoroughly related this is to my medium, comics. You know the word comics is kind of a misnomer and in Portuguese, I’ve discovered, they are called quadrenos, little boxes. And basically Hopper’s a painter of little boxes. He takes his little box, he subdivides it into other boxes.
So I think of Early Sunday Morning as a comic strip before the Sunday sun comes up. The boxes before they’re fully inhabited. Some people sleeping, some people just sort of brushing their teeth, at best. The stores not activated and therefore full of a kind of sad potential.
It looks like the barbershop pole is sort of already tipping its bulb to the little fire hydrant. It’s kind of like the C3PO and R2D2 of 1930: this kind of mechanized, urban, but very alive—possibly as least as alive as the people living behind those windows—might be creatures.
And it kind of makes a mournful song, even though it’s morning.