Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Rothko at the Tate Modern

Disappointed would be the word I'd use to describe the way I felt in this exhibit of Rothko's later paintings at the Tate Modern.

I love Rothko, and have since the first time I saw the room full of his paintings at the Tate Modern.  So when I found out they'd have a whole exhibit of his works, I was over the moon.  Yet, I left this exhibition feeling let down and disappointed.  It's just not that great, to be honest.  And for the cost of the ticket, it's not worth it.  Save your money, go see the Rothkos that are in the permanent collection when the exhibit closes, and go have a nice night in the pub with the money you've not spent.

Rothko sets a mood, and I was expecting this exhibit to be overflowing with "mood."  It wasn't.  It was boring.  They had one nice room, the main one, filled with the Seagram murals, that created an "experience," but other than that, the displays fell short.  I don't know what it was, but I just couldn't get out of there fast enough.  The whole exhibit felt poorly constructed and poorly executed.  The paintings never truly engulfed the visitor the way they do in the famous "Rothko Room", and I think that was the biggest disappointment of the day. I never felt truly absorbed by it all.

My disappointment may partially relate to the fact that the exhibit contains none of his more vibrant, earlier paintings, and I can't exactly blame them for that since it specifically focuses on his later work.  But still, I consider myself to be a pretty open-minded art appreciator, and considering I like Rothko enough to have one of his posters up in our flat, you'd think I would find something that resonated with me in an entire exhibit of his work.  But sadly, I didn't.

I hate to be a downer, but in my opinion, there are much better things to see in London right now.  Clearly, I'm at odds with some reviewers who loved it.  Still, I'm not the only one who thought the display of the Seagram murals was less than ideal.  I haven't felt this let down by a special exhibit in a long time.  Go to the Byzantium exhibition instead.  It's honestly 800 times more interesting.

1 comment:

eMark said...

I agree completely with your comments about the Rothko exhibit. There was no mood established beyond the Seagram's room, although it was nice to see that expanded group of paintings. The Byzantium exhibit was far more exciting.