Mom’s Eye View

This is the third in a series of posts about this year’s attendance record-breaking annual free family festival, this time from a parent’s point of view. Jessica is Mom to Sophia, Very Young Dancer and niece-by-choice of Rachel Goldberg. Read the first and second installments of the series. 

Photo of Jessica's family creating Jasper Johns-inspired prints in the art-making workshop

Making prints with Sophia while her dad, brother, and Rachel look on. Photo: James R. Brantley

It was a great day for sure, even from the very start. I got everyone up bright and early to beat the crowds for Jazz ‘n Families Fun Days at the Phillips–my 2 1/2 year old Sophia, 10 month old Edward, and husband who had just returned from traveling all week. I didn’t have high hopes for the day, but I was optimistic. As excited as I was to experience the instrument petting zoo and make art with my lovely daughter, I was also beside myself in anticipation of showing Sophia the Rothko Room.

A print created by Sophia in the art-making workshop

Sophia's print

As it turned out, she was curious about the instruments but not too happy about the loud noises, unlike Edward who couldn’t get enough. The printmaking activity was fantastic for Sophia; she could have stayed there all day (and, frankly, I could have too). We didn’t let Edward anywhere near the paint–I don’t think even The Phillips Collection is ready for such a young Jackson Pollock.

After feeling a bit guilty for using so many art supplies, we moved on to what Sophia most wanted to see–Degas’s Dancers at the Barre. When she saw the large painting almost at her eye level, I could see she wanted to give it a running hug. I grabbed her (along with my heart, that fell out of my chest at the sight of her enthusiasm), and we admired the painting from afar. Needless to say Sophia returned to that painting several times.

Saving my favorite for last, we visited the Rothko Room. Sophia did not quite share my awestruck reaction; instead she asked many times, “What’s that?”

It is a spectacular day when you can share the experience of art with your children. The questions never get tiresome and never run out.

Jessica, Jazz ‘n Families Fun Days Guest and Mom

“Seeing Red,” Mark Rothko Inspired Works Displayed at “Red”

Briefly augmenting the Tony Award-winning play, Red, by John Logan, at Washington, D.C.’s Arena Stage, were a dozen works inspired by the grand, colorful paintings of Mark Rothko, who is the focus of the play.

Two Museum Assistants at The Phillips Collection were among the artists in the “Seeing Red” display, organized by Joseph Orzal and Josef Palermo of the Washington art collective, Vestibule. The works were on view February 3-5, 2011.

Experiment Station talked with Museum Assistants Janelle Ortiz and Rodrigo Carazas Portal about their works in the display.

Rodrigo Carazas (left) and Janelle Ortiz (right) stand by their works installed at Arena Stage in February 2011. Photos: Rodrigo Carazas Portal

You’re familiar with paintings in the Rothko Room at the Phillips, and I heard you went to the Phillips library to look through the books on Rothko. Is the Phillips your first exposure to Rothko?

Janelle: The Phillips Collection is not my first exposure to Rothko. I actually cannot even pinpoint in my memory when I first learned about Rothko or first saw a painting of his. However, the Rothko Room was my first EXPERIENCE with a Rothko. Previously, I passively viewed them at art museums; this was before I viewed the Rothko Room or did any research on the artist and his work. The way the Rothko Room presented his paintings requires real consideration from the viewer, a consideration I had never given before to a work by Rothko.

Rodrigo: Mark Rothko is a continuous inspiration for me. Working at The Phillips Collection gave me a much closer approach to his work, and the library [provided] a deeper insight on his life and ideas.

Is Rothko the inspiration for the work? Continue reading ““Seeing Red,” Mark Rothko Inspired Works Displayed at “Red”” »