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What is it like to have Rothko’s work ‘Grey, Orange on Maroon, No. 8’ all to yourself? You can find out from 16 March in the exhibition ‘Rothko & me’ at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam. Nothing and no one will stand in the way of your intimate encounter with the painting.
During the renovation of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, ‘Grey, Orange on Maroon, No. 8’ and some 500 other masterpieces from the museum’s collection will be given new homes in neighbouring institutions under the name ‘Boijmans Next Door’: a unique partnership with Rotterdam’s museums that will keep Boijmans’ collection visible during the renovation.
"Mark Rothko believed that his abstract paintings could evoke an emotional, almost spiritual experience in the viewer comparable to the experience he had while painting the works. The Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam offers visitors the opportunity to experience this for themselves. “Rothko & Me” is a presentation that honours “Grey, Orange on Maroon, No. 8”."
Sandra Kisters, Head of Collections and Research at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.
Encounter between the artist and the public
The interaction with the viewer is of great importance in the paintings of Mark Rothko (Dvinsk 1903-New York 1970). ‘The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them’, Rothko said. Emotion was central to his abstract works, in which he worked with intense fields of colour. He was not concerned with colour per se, even if the titles of his paintings refer to them. He believed that ‘if you […] are moved only by their colour relationships, then you miss the point’. ‘I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions – tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.’
Mark Rothko was born in Dvinsk in the Russian Empire (now Daugavpils in Latvia), but immigrated to the United States as a child in 1913. He studied briefly at several art schools but was mainly self-taught as a painter. He began working in his characteristic style in 1947. In the 1950s he suffered from alcoholism and bouts of depression. This was mirrored in his paintings, whose colour palette became more sombre. Rothko’s international reputation grew steadily throughout the 1950s, and a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1961 signalled his definitive commercial and critical breakthrough.
Alone with Rothko in the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam
There are always crowds of people standing before Rothko’s paintings in museums. In the exhibition ‘Rothko & Me’ at the Stedelijk Museum in Schiedam, you have Rothko all to yourself. Look at the painting alone, standing or seated, without your phone, though you are allowed to take a photo. Prior to your visit, you will be put in the right mood with mindfulness ‘looking tips’. The waiting room and gallery have been designed by stylist and exhibition designer Maarten Spruyt. He has created a peaceful environment that allows the colours to shimmer. As a visitor, you can have an extended period alone with the painting, unless there is a long queue, in which case the maximum is ten minutes per person. Visitors who want to be guaranteed a whole hour or perhaps even twenty-four hours with the painting can reserve a special time slot. Small groups can book ‘Rothko & Us’ with musicians, philosophers or poets. For more information, visit the website of the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam.
Boijmans Next Door
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s internationally renowned collection is being dispersed across Rotterdam. Some 500 masterpieces will be displayed in eleven special exhibitions at eight of the museum’s neighbours under the title ‘Boijmans Next Door’. The exhibitions in these guest venues will create encounters between Boijmans’ collection and that of its neighbours. For example, the Maritime Museum will exhibit a selection of seascapes, while masterpieces by Kandinsky and others will be displayed in the Chabot Museum, opposite Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. In this way, you need not miss the museum’s collection while the building is being renovated.
Later this year, the museum will close for essential renovations. In this transitional period, the museum is making its world-class collection available elsewhere in Rotterdam and further afield. In addition to the ‘Boijmans Next Door’ projects, the museum has also created travelling exhibitions for museums all around the world. And schoolchildren in Rotterdam are being introduced to real artworks from the collection in the project ‘Boijmans in the Classroom’. Meanwhile, the construction of Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen continues apace. The world’s first publicly accessible art-storage facility will open at the beginning of 2021 and will safely house and display 151,000 artworks.