Friday, February 5, 2021

Rothko, Reverential and Otherworldly, in Houston

By Brian T. Allen
Rothko Chapel interior and new skylight (© Elizabeth Felicella. Courtesy Rothko Chapel)
The Rothko Chapel in Houston opened 50 years ago, on the weekend of February 26, 1971. Lots of events are planned throughout the year to celebrate and contextualize it, and deservedly so. The tiny building is not decorated by Mark Rothko’s last work, since “decorated” suggests that the art augments the chapel. Rather, the building is a mere stage for a suite of religious paintings, though “religious” isn’t precise, either. You won’t find angels on the walls, or divinities of any kind, and don’t go there to get answers. Rather, the paintings are intensely spiritual. “Intense” and “spiritual” seem right. The chapel has just been sensitively renovated so, of course, I visited when I was in Texas after Christmas. [More]