creates a meditative space to view his color field paintings. The
museum’s founder designed the room specifically for this purpose.
Mark Rothko’s last years are chronicled in a play currently showing at the Arena Stage in Washington,DC. Washington holds a special place for this artist, with the National Gallery holding the largest collection of his work in the world and the Phillips Collection having a special Rothko Room designed for his work by the museum’s founder.
“Red,” an award-winning Broadway play by John Logan, will continue its run until March 9. The entire play takes place in Rothko’s studio with a dialogue between Rothko and a young assistant named Ken. In 100 minutes without interruption, there are no lulls in this play.
the Phillips Collection.
The discussion of color illuminates meaning in Rothko’s paintings. Rothko refers to Matisse’s The Red Studio of 1911, a seminal work of 20th century art. Red is a life force, a vibrancy and the fire of creativity. But the color black diminishes that life force. Rothko explains in the play: “The only thing I fear in life is that one day the black will swallow the red.”
for the Seagram Mural project during the run of “Red” on Arena Stage. Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc. Copyright © 1997 Christopher Rothko and Kate Rothko Prizel
In the end, the black swallowed red, unfortunately.