No. 8, 1949
Oil and mixed media on canvas
90 x 66 in.
The National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.43.147
©1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko /Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington
The Arkansas Arts Center, the state’s premiere center for visual and performing arts with a renowned collection of international art, presents the Mark Rothko in the 1940s: The Decisive Decade exhibition, on view October 25 – February 9, in the Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery.
“When I began organizing the Mark Rothko exhibition back in 2009, it came together very quickly and grew from a dozen pieces to nearly 40. It was an honor and a privilege to see the exhibition come to fruition from its humble beginnings to a touring collection,” said Arkansas Arts Center executive director Todd Herman. “We are delighted to afford Arkansans the opportunity to view the thoughtfully rich works of a master in modern American art.”
Herman developed the Rothko exhibition while he was the chief curator and curator of European art at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, S.C. Herman approached the National Gallery of Art in Washington about a collaboration to bring to the forefront a thought-provoking depiction of the famed late artists’ works.
The show began its run at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, S.C., in September 2012, the Denver Art Museum in Denver, Colo. and will arrive at the Arkansas Arts Center in October. Herman also wrote the forward and introduction in the book, Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade 1940-1950, which was listed at #6 on Huffington Post’s top art books in 2012.
Regarded as one of the leading American artists of the 20th century, Mark Rothko (1903-1970) forever changed the landscape of modern American art. Rothko was a member of The New York School, a collection of artists working in a nexus of artistic approaches, the best known of which were Gesturalism, or Abstract Expressionism and Color Field. What most members of this group shared was a faith in using the power of art effectively to address the pressing historical problems of their era though channels such as the movies, news reports and photographs of the war.
Rothko was the most important artist of the School’s Color Field wing and like many of his colleagues, the 1940s was the critical decade for his development. This exhibition is an examination into the artistic maturation, a decade of searching and rapid evolution, of one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century that deserves not only closer attention, but also a re-evaluation. Included in the exhibition are works by Rothko’s colleagues such as Jackson Pollock, Adolph Gottlieb and Clyfford Still developing along a very similar vein at the same time.
Mark Rothko in the 1940s will be the first exhibition and catalogue to reevaluate this work in the context of Rothko’s thoughts about art from the period. The exhibition will bring to light many works not seen before by scholars or the public and highlight a period of his career that is often overlooked.
The paintings, drawings and watercolors by Mark Rothko in this exhibition are on loan from the National Gallery in Washington. The exhibition was organized by the Arkansas Arts Center, the Columbia Museum of Art, the Columbus Museum of Art and the Denver Art Museum in conjunction with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The exhibition is funded in part by the Dedalus Foundation. Local support is provided by Harriet and Warren Stephens, Chucki and Curt Bradbury, The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Mary Ellen and Jason Vangilder and the Capital Hotel.
Arkansas Arts Center members are invited to a member reception for Mark Rothko in the 1940s: The Decisive Decade, Face to Face: Artists’ Self-Portraits from the collection of Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr. and Portraiture Now: Drawing on the Edge exhibitions to be held on Thursday, October 24, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Dr. Bradford R. Collins, University of South Carolina associate professor of art history and catalogue editor of Mark Rothko, The Decisive Decade: 1940-1950, will present the lecture, “Rothko’s Dilemma: Beauty and Tragedy,” at 6 p.m. in the lecture hall, sponsored by the Fine Arts Club. Members and guests will enjoy music, cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are required to attend and are free for members. Non-members may purchase a ticket for $15 which includes access to the lecture, exhibitions and reception.
Additional events associated with the Mark Rothko in the 1940s: The Decisive Decade exhibition include;
Museum School Workshop: Artist Catherine Rodgers will lead a workshop, Paint like Rothko – Color: Complement, Shade, Tone and Tint, on Saturday, October 26, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on Sunday, October 27, from noon to 4 p.m. Admission to the workshop will be $92 for members and $115 for non-members. Those interested can register through the Museum School, arkansasartscenter.org or by contacting (501) 372-4000.
Dance: A special performance titled Color Play, an original choreographed interpretation of the work of Mark Rothko featuring Stephanie Thibeault and the UALR dance department, will be held on Saturday, December 7, at 2 p.m. in the Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery. Admission will be free with ticket purchase to exhibition. Guests may sign up at Stephens Inc. Visitors Center. Space is limited.
Feed Your Mind Fridays:
· Artist Gallery Talk with Virmarie DePoyster will be held on Friday, November 8, at noon in the Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery. Admission will be free with ticket purchase to exhibition. Guests may sign up at the Stephens Inc. Visitors Center. Space is limited.
· The film The Rothko Chapel (68 minutes) will be shown on Friday, November 29, at noon in the lecture hall.
· The film Rothko’s Rooms (60 minutes) will be shown on Friday, December 13, at noon in the lecture hall.
· The film Motherwell & the New York School: Storming the Citadel (55 minutes) will be shown on Friday, February 7, 2014, at noon in the lecture hall.
Lecture: Christopher Rothko, son of artist Mark Rothko, will be on hand for questions Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 6 p.m. for the lecture, “Conversations with Christopher Rothko and Todd Herman”, in the lecture hall presented by the Fine Arts Club. The Arkansas Arts Center will have extended hours through 9:00 p.m.
Family Festival: Rothko’s Colors and Perfect Portraits, a family festival, will be held on Saturday, January 18, 2014, from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Admission will be free for members, $5 per person and $20 per family.
Music: Haskell Small will present an original composition inspired by Mark Rothko and his paintings on Sunday, February 2, 2014, at 2 p.m. in the Winthrop Rockefeller Gallery. Admission will be free with ticket purchase to exhibition. Guests may sign up at the Stephens Inc. Visitors Center. Space is limited.
Drop-In Tours Museum docents will be giving 1-hour tours of Mark Rothko in the 1940s: The Decisive Decade. Tour times are as follows: Tuesday – Friday at 1 p.m., Saturdays at 11 am. and 1 p.m. and Sundays at 1p.m. Free with ticket. Space is limited to 20. Please sign in at the Stephens Inc. Visitors Center. First come, first served.
For more information, visit arkansasartscenter.org or call (501)372-4000.