Back from Houston with Rothko on my mind
I had seen the Rothko Chapel built by the de Menil’s before and I was not happy with it. The lighting seemed too harsh, the building itself, too dreary. But everything that didn’t work at the Chapel did work in the museum, which houses several huge Rothko’s that were additional panels for the ones in the Chapel.
Here the light was softer, more muted. In these hugely tall panels of mostly black and maroon, I found myself contemplating the differences between the panels. It appeared that the value changed from one panel to the next. But then it also seemed that they were exactly the same. Was the rectangle in the middle located in the same place in each painting or was it moved slightly? In one, the maroon color seemed to lift off the surface in such a way that you felt that you could walk behind it.
Photographs can tell you nothing of the experience. These paintings cannot be reproduced. And they can only be seen over time. As your eyes adjust to the darkness, more is revealed. But I am telling you nothing new. This is how Rothko paintings demand to be looked at: over time, with patience. In fact, to look at a Rothko is more like the act of listening.
Here is a great description of these paintings in a post by N. Elizabeth Schlatter: http://cablegram.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/dispatches-20-mark-rothko-paintings-the-menil-collection-and-the-rothko-chapel-houston-tx/
If you go:
General Information / Map
North portico. Photo: Hickey-Robertson, Houston
The museum is free to all visitors.
THE MENIL COLLECTION
1515 Sul Ross Street Houston, TX 77006 Phone: 713-525-9400
11:00 a.m – 7:00 p.m. Wednesday – Sunday
The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Handicapped accessible entrance on Sul Ross St. side of building.
Wheelchair accessible – when planning your visit please
call for details, (713) 525-9400, or write firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 24, 2011
Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25, 2011
New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, 2012
Spring Holiday, Sunday, April 8, 2012
From US 59, northbound or southbound, take the Shepherd Street exit. Travel north on Shepherd Street to West Alabama Street. Turn right on West Alabama Street. Travel 3/4 mile and cross Mandell Street. Parking for the museum is on the right, between Mandell and Mulberry Streets.
From Downtown or Midtown, take Main Street or Milam south and turn right on West Alabama Street. Travel one mile past Montrose Blvd. and cross Mulberry Street. Museum parking is on the left between Mulberry and Mandell Streets.
Select a building name below to find on map or click building on map.
- Outdoor Sculpture