press release

Tate Modern presents an exhibition by one of the world's most famous and best-loved artists, Mark Rothko. This is the first significant exhibition of his work to be held in the UK for over 20 years.

Tate Modern's iconic 'Rothko Room' works are reunited for the first time with works from Japan. The Seagram Murals were originally commissioned for The Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram Building New York.

Rothko's iconic paintings, composed of luminous, soft-edged rectangles saturated with colour, are among the most enduring and mysterious created by an artist in modern times. In the exhibition his paintings glow meditatively from the walls in deep dark reds, oranges, maroons, browns, blacks, and greys.

The exhibition will also focus on other work in series, such as the Black-Form paintings, his large-scale Brown and Grey works on paper, and his last series of Black on Grey paintings, created in the final decade of his life from 1958-1970.

This exhibition focuses on the late work of Mark Rothko (1903–70), especially his works in series. At their heart are strategies of repetition and variation on a theme, encapsulated in Rothko's statement that 'If a thing is worth doing once, it is worth doing over and over again – exploring it, probing it, demanding by its repetition that the public look at it.'

Such ideas had already been integral to his colour field works of the 1950s. Throughout the late 1950s and 1960s, however, they took on a new importance as Rothko explored the concept of the series, which provided him with a method of critical self-enquiry and as a way of investigating the continuing possibilities of painting in an increasingly image-saturated culture. The process emerged, in part, from various commissions to create ambitious painterly environments. The first of these was for the newly opened Seagram building on New York's Park Avenue. Made in 1958–9, the Seagram murals never reached their original destination, after Rothko decided that a private dining room was an unsuitable environment to experience his paintings. Yet for much of the next decade he was preoccupied with the murals' display, and the intellectual and painterly questions underpinning their conception.

Though he continued to produce individual paintings and works on paper of great quality, it was the series and commissions at the centre of this exhibition that formed the cornerstones of his late work.

Rothko is the must-see exhibition of the year - book your tickets now to avoid missing out.

Mark Rothko
Kurator: Achim Borchardt-Hume

Stationen:
08.02.08 - 27.04.08 Hypo-Kunsthalle, München
16.05.08 - 24.08.08 Kunsthalle Hamburg
21.09.08 - 01.02.09 Tate Modern, London (Spätwerk)