Thursday 25 September 2008

One to Avoid?

The impending Rothko exhibition at Tate Modern (the world's worst gallery?) looks like being one to avoid. If ever there was an artist whose work is entirely inimical to the jostling crowds, hubbub, craning necks and sharp elbows of a blockbuster exhibition in a modern gallery, Rothko is that artist. Peaceful contemplation is essential, and that is hard to come by even in Tate Mod's Rothko Room, let alone in the melee of exhibition. It was so much better when those extraordinary paintings lived in the peace and quiet of the old Tate...
(By the way, don't you just love that caption under the picture...)


  1. On the contrary, this sounds like one to go to if at all you can. Barring, of course, disasters like the expo turning out to be three minor works on display in a broom cupboard.

    Yes, I expect there will be crowds. However, that only offers more of a challenge to the viewer: whether one can meditate deeply enough on the art so that the crowds no longer matter. Why I am bothering the crowds enough for the crowds to bother me? It will also be interesting to see whether the paintings themselves influence the behaviour of those in the room. I think they will, perhaps in unexpected ways.

  2. Hmm interesting - you may well be right about that, Mark... Apparently it's 50 pictures - daunting.

  3. From my bedroom window in south Londinium, I can see the gargantuan bulk of Tate Modern about five miles away, and it acts as a constant reminder that I should ingest good pictures more often than I do but, like you Nige, I fear that contemplation of art, and seething crowds, are not a marriage made in heaven, be it for Rothko or any other 'major'.
    I usually go to the biggies at around ten in the morning, and it is nearly always quiet. Leave it until, say, early February, perhaps a damp Tuesday or Thursday, when the Broon-Darling axis will have stripped most of us of any spare disposable income we may imagine we will still have, and I'll see you there.
    A thought. Woeful as it is to think that the French may be quitting the two hour lunch at the rate of one in five, it is uplifting to think that there will be shed-loads of folk fighting to see the work of this Latvian Abstract Impressionist, who had such a messy personal life, capped by the ultimate exclamation mark, and yet kept painting on a huge scale until the last few years of his life, when miniatures took over.
    Yes, like Mark, I must say au contraire - this is a February must-see.

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