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