Rothko in the Tower Closing This Sunday

Walk quietly and meditatively to the National Gallery’s East Wing right away if you have not yet seen the Rothko in the Tower exhibit and you are in town.  Exquisite.  I have been many times while it has been open (one of the best things about my job is its proximity to the National Gallery, allowing me to go visit a painting or two at lunch), but have left if more than a couple of people are in the exhibit with me.  Sometimes it is others who appreciate the subtleties and then we get the joy of communal appreciation and connection.  More often with a group of visitors climbing the steps to the Tower gallery space, it is tourists who come up, see that the paintings are mostly black and loudly exclaim that they don’t get it.  The act of not getting it without effort tends to make them louder and more inclined to just chat about whatever and not look at the art.  When I find an art exhibit that is not to my taste, it is my practice (as I was taught) to make an effort to appreciate the technique and intention, if not the aesthetics, and then move on with some insight gained for the broader art world–knowing there is another opportunity just down the hall or the street for me to find deeper delight and inspiration.

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