Romance in the Rothko Room

Catherine and Brian engagement 2_Photo Mark Armstrong

Brian popped the question to Catherine in the Phillips’s Rothko Room…and she said “Yes!”

Congratulations to Brian and Catherine, who got engaged in the Phillips’s Rothko Room earlier this month! We asked the couple to share their story and why the Rothko Room holds special meaning for them:

“When I started thinking about proposing to Catherine, I knew that I wanted to incorporate art into the proposal. Catherine moved to DC to study art history and to have the opportunity to intern in the district’s numerous art collections and museums. While in graduate school and while we were dating, one of these internships was with The Phillips Collection. During this time, it became apparent how much the collection meant to her, specifically the Rothko Room. She had prints of the four pieces that hang in the Rothko Room on the walls of her apartment and, as a result, they were witness to a large portion of our relationship. With this in mind, I thought it would be special to share our big moment in front of the real paintings, in a collection that she loves.

The passion that Catherine puts into her everyday life is one of the many things that first attracted me to her. One of her avenues to express this passion is through her love for and pursuit of art history. With this in mind, the Rothko Room at the Phillips seemed like the perfect place to solidify the passion in our relationship and begin our life together.” —Brian Rasmussen

Catherine and Brian engagement 3_Photo Mark Armstrong

Brian invited family to celebrate the new engagement

“I was completely shocked when I walked into the Rothko Room and saw Brian standing in the corner. This room has always been my favorite spot in DC and I can’t think of a more perfect place to share such a special moment. After a lot of tears and pictures, the surprises continued down in the café where our families and friends from out of town were waiting with champagne and donuts (my favorite!). Brian truly planned the perfect proposal and I can’t wait to visit the Rothko Room for the years to come with my soon to be husband!” —Catherine West

Do you have a Phillips love story? Send it to us at

Catherine and Brian engagement 1_Photo Mark Armstrong

Congratulations to these lovebirds!

Spotlight on Intersections@5: Annabel Daou

The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.

Daou_pieces of the love letter

Annabel Daou, pieces of the love letter: the common tongue, 2014. Gift of the Artist and Tanja Wagner Gallery, Berlin, 2015

In pieces of the love letter: the common tongue, fragmented sheets of paper are left unmarked by ink, but are held together by mending tape, which is alternately adhered to or suspended above the paper. The love letter is repetitive and frantic. It attempts to lay claim to something solid and precise and yet it seems always on the verge of disintegration.

The love letter figures in this work figures as a privileged marker of the impossible adequateness of language and desire. The ability to express a seemingly universal emotion is perpetually placed in question, both by the work and by the authors of the language they employ.

This work furthers Daou’s exploration of the intersections between writing, speech, and non-verbal modes of communication. As elsewhere in her work, language emerges as a site of both ruin and repair.

Waxing Poetic in the Laib Wax Room

madeline and ben wax room

Newly engaged Madeline and Benjamin.

Benjamin Krauss and Madeline Bouton got engaged inside of the Phillips’s Laib Wax Room on February 5, 2015 and caught the moment on camera. We asked the couple a few questions about their relationship and why Wolfgang Laib’s Wax Room is important to them.

How did you meet?
We met during our junior year abroad in Berlin. After realizing we were both art history majors from southern California, we knew we were onto something.

What was your first date?
We never really “dated.” After friends introduced us one night, we spent an inseparable 4 days with each other. Things never really cooled down.

Had either of you been to The Phillips Collection before the proposal? When was your first visit?
Madeline actually interned at the Phillips from February to December 2012 at the Center for the Study of Modern Art. She treasures the Phillips like nowhere else in the city.

Why did you choose the Laib Wax Room as your proposal location?
Madeline was interning at the Phillips during the room’s installation. She was one of the first people to step inside. She loved Laib’s work from that moment forward. When Ben first visited the collection, he went back to the room three times.

Laib’s use of the natural, meditative execution, and intuitively German approach strikes a deep chord with us both. Given the room’s two visitor constraint and Madeline’s history with the Phillips, it just had to be in the Wax Room.