Thursday, September 22, 2011

Unfinished Business

This video turned up as part of a course I am taking on Abstract Expressionism. It is provocatively symbolic. It announces the room where the Rothko's given to the Tate by Rothko will hang, without showing any of the works.

The backstory is this... Rothko repudiated his agreement to provide 600 square feet of paintings for the the new Four Seasons restaurant at the Seagram Building in New York. Rothko later gave nine of the paintings that he had intended for the Four Seasons to the Tate, insisting on an exclusive room for his paintings. On the morning he died, after slitting his arms, creating a a pool of blood roughly the same size as and as abstract as his own paintings, the works arrived at the Tate.

At the request of Rothko, The Tate, like the Phillips Collection, has created a special room to view the works. This video was created to announce the "Room."

We might all agree the color and luminosity of Rothko's works have a transformative power. As distillation of human experience, his works are not just abstract exercises. So...can this video be re-contexturalized as a post modern abstract exercise? An "abstracted" commentary, devoid of color, luminosity, and human experience, on the packaging of art?

Stripped of all content, yet referencing it, Rothko repackaged and absent — an unfinished installation and unfinished Beethoven too. How modern can you get?

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