Friday, 30 January 2009

Rothko exhibition

Went to the Rothko exhibition today at Tate Modern. The highlight really was the walk there, past St Pauls and over the wobbly bridge, which looked stunning in the sunlight. A crisp, blowy day is really the best time to be near the river.

The walk around the Tate was pretty good too. The spaces, ramps, not to mention the steel spider the size of a large house were very much appreciated, particularly by our three-year old.

Anyway the exhibition. Seeing Rothkos in serried ranks really does take away their individual impact. When you see one and you're in the right mood it can be like a warm bath of contemplation, just enjoying the colours and how they seep and smudge into each other. But I think this effect depends on its singularity. Seeing lots together just made me think how Rothko was a bit of a one-trick pony. A lovely trick but when you see it being done again and again, a bit of a staid one.

It cast my mind back to the last Jackson Pollock exhibition I went to at MOMA a few years ago. Seeing a lot of his work together made me think more of him (in fact he subsequently became one of my favourite late-20th century artists). Despite the execution being reasonably uniform, the effects created were extremely varied. Perhaps it was that Pollock uses a huge palette whilst Rothko's was surprisingly limited, at least as evidenced by the Tate show. BTW what did he have against anything not in the red or grey spectrums (at least re his paintings)?

Thinking about it, the other highlight was the members caff on the top floor. Really lovely with great views and a nice cup of coffee. Very friendly service too.


Anonymous said...

A one trick pony? Staid? The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions. The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them. And if you say you are moved only by their color relationships then you miss the point.
Rgds, MR

Anonymous said...

That's what I like about MOMA myself. Ace museum with quite a nice cocktail bar attached. Mine's a large bourbon.Jackson P.