The Rothko Chapel constantly explores the interplay between spirituality, art, social justice and culture – and this summer, the nonprofit is exploring how to share the essence of the Chapel in another context altogether. The Rothko Chapel is honored to be invited by the Museo de Arte Moderno, Medellin for its exhibition "Concerning the Spiritual in Art. Overture," running through Sunday, Sept. 11.
For this exhibition, the museum is exploring the same terrain as the Chapel -- the intersection of the spiritual, the cultural and the creative. "Without necessarily being affiliated with a religion, artists have fed the knowledge coded in religions or ancestral heritages into their work," museum curator María Iovino said. "They have rescued arcane cultures and philosophies that are currently considered to be of great interest and have kept the space of millenary wisdom vibrant for us."
In addition to including Rothko Chapel as a special project, María Iovino has included a number of artists including Claudia Andujar, Margarita Azurdia, Nicolás Bacal, Manuel Casanueva, Gregorio Cuartas, Magdalena Fernández, Marcius Galan, Mónica Giron, César González, Gertrude "Gego" Goldschmidt, Ariel Guzik, Mateo López, Anna Maria Maiolino, Felipe Mujica, Gabriel Orozco, John Mario Ortiz, Nicolás París, Carlos Rojas, Bispo do Rosario, Armando Reverón, Xul Solar and Juan Diego Tobalina.
The Rothko Chapel’s executive director David Leslie explained that this focus aligns well with the Chapel’s identity. "As a sacred space dedicated to cross-cultural understanding and non-denominational spiritual insight, this exhibition is a perfect fit for us," Leslie said. "It’s an exciting exploration of what it means to take the Chapel on the road and share it in other environments and cultures."
The Museo de Arte Moderno, Medellin provides a unique venue for partnership with the Chapel. Originally set in a small converted house in 1978, the museum moved into its current location, an old metal foundry in 2009 and, in 2015, completed its new state of the art additions. The "Concerning the Spiritual in Art: Overture" exhibit will be set up within the old foundry space and will feature an atmosphere of radical silence, where visitors are invited to unplug from their various devices and enjoy Chapel-inspired benches, meditation cushions and rugs.
Still, the exhibit will use technology to its advantage -- with a 360 VR experience of the Rothko Chapel available for people with smartphones and Google Cardboard glasses. Those without a smartphone can move through an interactive 360-degree photo projection of both the interior and exterior of the Chapel. Also included is a huge photo mural of the Chapel interior, Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk, a film loop of Chapel archival images and the Chapel’s floor plan In addition, in the museum’s sound space on the third floor, visitors can sit and take in Morton Feldman’s composition, "Rothko Chapel."
In addition to creating a venue to bring Houston’s beloved sacred space to Colombia, there will also be a series of programs offered, including workshops, guided meditation, concerts and a series of talks on topics close to the Chapel’s heart and mission. For more information about the Rothko Chapel and the full calendar of upcoming programs, workshops and events, visit rothkochapel.org or call 713-524-9839