Mark Rothko – West 53rd Street Studio – photo by Henry Elkan, c. 1953

Well, I made it to the Rothko exhibition at The Tate Modern last week and I am really glad that I did. As it was not possible to photograph any of the works I have included a couple of images courtesy of The Tate.

Rothko’s words confront the continual stream of visitors in the area adjoininng the exhibition – `if people want sacred experiences they will find them here. If they want profane experience they’ll find them too. I take no sides.’ – and the beauty of this exhibition is that whatever ones view of Rothko’s work, as one enters The Rothko Room there is no escaping the sheer power and energy of the paintings on display.

In part because of the immediate challenge to the senses that these immense canvases provoke, but also because the maroons, dark reds, oranges and blacks shimmer in the dimness of the mysterious glow of the almost supernatural low lighting used in the room…..and the deathly stillness as many stood, silently, staring, deeply immersed in their own thoughts merely contributed to the already other worldly feel.

I could not fail to be moved and I would certainly class this Rothko exhibition as “a must see” if ever there was one, and if you haven’t seen it yet but you get the chance there are still two weeks of it left, it runs until February 1st 2009.

Four Darks in Red 1958
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Schwartz, Mrs. Samuel A. Seaver and Charles Simon © Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 1998

Black on Maroon 1958
Tate. Presented by the artist through the American Federation of Arts 1969
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 1998

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