The painter Mark Rothko worked on the Seagrams series for eight months, finding the process tedious and exhausting, before finally deciding to withdraw his murals from the commission. He realised that the nature of the Seagram building juxtaposed his morals and compromised the experience that he hoped to evoke in viewers. Rather than being appreciated for their profound, emotional content, they would become mere decorations on the walls of a capitalist corporation.This dissertation will consider the paintings in the two galleries that have exhibited the Seagram murals since Rothko’s death, the Tate Gallery at Millbank (now Tate Britain) and the Tate Modern. It will unravel Rothko’s definition of “religious experience,” outline political and cultural changes that have impacted British galleries, and compare the types of experience at the two Tate institutions. In doing so, it will bring to light the effects that exhibition spaces have on the reception of an artwork, assessing the extent to which Rothko was ever successful in controlling his situation.
History of Art and Design, BA(Hons)
21 Jul 2016