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According to The New York Times (Oct. 22, 2006), a new 20 foot-tall, 37-foot wide sculpture "constructed out of fiberglass, pulverized marble and lime cement" is to be installed on Nov. 12. The artist. Michael Somoroff. describes it as "a sculptural translation of light as it moves across the chapel." (Pictures of Illumination I can be seen on the artist's website.)

If I'm understanding this correctly, it will be installed inside of the chapel. Wonder how they'll shoehorn it in there?

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If I'm understanding this correctly, it will be installed inside of the chapel. Wonder how they'll shoehorn it in there?

i may be totally out of line but i think the chapel is fine how it is.

i've been going there for years. the one thing that is very moving

for me is that the meditative space remains the same as everything

else outside of it changes.

if installed inside i'm not sure how they could still have weddings

and funerals there.

Edited by torvald
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according to the plat on his website, it appears to be going outside.

then i wonder how long before it is tagged?

i think the only thing saving the current sculpture is that it is surrounded by water.

Edited by torvald
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According to The New York Times (Oct. 22, 2006), a new 20 foot-tall, 37-foot wide sculpture "constructed out of fiberglass, pulverized marble and lime cement" is to be installed on Nov. 12. The artist. Michael Somoroff. describes it as "a sculptural translation of light as it moves across the chapel." (Pictures of Illumination I can be seen on the artist's website.)

If I'm understanding this correctly, it will be installed inside of the chapel. Wonder how they'll shoehorn it in there?

It's going to be on the east side of the chapel.

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Do they ever have problems at the Cullen Sculpture Garden? I'd hope people have a little respect.

there is night security at the cullen sculpture garden. i have

seen some of the sculptures near the menil tagged... forgive

me , i don't know what they're called... the geometric ones

in the park there.

plus, tagging is all about disrespect and public damage. you

can reference some of the graffiti threads on this forum.

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there is night security at the cullen sculpture garden. i have

seen some of the sculptures near the menil tagged... forgive

me , i don't know what they're called... the geometric ones

in the park there.

plus, tagging is all about disrespect and public damage. you

can reference some of the graffiti threads on this forum.

i guess i have a little faith that they would choose targets like a bus stop or street light control box instead. in the 90's the grinders made it rough for us by grinding on marble, limestone, etc on downtown building causing it to chip off. Some of the old timers made it rough for them by beating em up.

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i guess i have a little faith that they would choose targets like a bus stop or street light control box instead.

sadly, from experience, i don't.

they'll tag those things but they also tag old buildings,

murals (like the one at mary's), the red ball finials on

the new 59 bridges, shop windows, the menil sculptures...

just look at the sears building on allen parkway.

also:

Taggin is all about fame. Like when NEXT won the houston press award for best Houston tagger his fame level shot up. Or when "REBS" and "RITE" got on the news for taggin all the freeway signs and causin 10s of thousands of dollars worth of damage, their fame level shot up. And if you remember what rebs tag looked like, you'll see you don't need a lot of skill to get a lot of fame. Taggin is about gettin your piece on a 150 foot tall billboard. . .
Edited by torvald
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I think the new sculpture is going to make the best art setting experience in Texas even better.

Before the Nasher Collection was committed to the Dallas Arts District, I was kinda hoping it would make a home in the Fort Worth Cultural District, that the park next to the Kimball is perfect for a sculpture garden. A Nasher annex in Fort Worth is still on my wish list.

The park with the Rothko Chapel is just about my favorite place in Texas.

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Barnet Newman's 'Broken Oblisk', in the plaza pool in front of the Rothko Chapel, was defaced with a swastika several years ago. It has since been completely refurbished and resealed and is back in place. This sculpture, which is arguably Houston's most controversial and artistically important outdoor expression, was dedicated to MLK and its defacement was a crude political act and not an ordinary 'tagging' if that word can be used at all.

The new sculpture seems a little wayward to me. It seems too close to the building. The back appeals to me more than the front where a large, vagina-like appendage spills forth above the entrance to the cave. It is somewhat more magical at night. I think I will like this sculpture over time but at the moment I'm feeling a little squimish about it.

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This sculpture, which is arguably Houston's most controversial and artistically important outdoor expression, was dedicated to MLK and its defacement was a crude political act and not an ordinary 'tagging' if that word can be used at all.

i just need to say that dedicating that sculpture to MLK was a joke! Could we commision a sculpture specifically for him & not just rename an old one. Seems kinda disrespectful 2 me.

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I dont' think that Broken Obelisk was was rededicated to MLK. It was made specifically as a memorial to him - far from disrespectful.

That had always been my impression, too.

Hair splitting seems to be in order. While Broken Obelisk was not constructed as a memorial to Dr. King, it had not been dedicated in any way until after Dr. King's assassination; "rededicated" doesn't apply.

In my opinion it's a fitting tribute. That Barnett Newman probably didn't have Dr. King in mind at the project's conception doesn't negate its appropriateness.

From the MOMA Learning website:

The idea for Broken Obelisk (an obelisk is a tall, four-sided structure that comes to a pyramidlike point) came to Newman in 1963, but he was unable to create the work until he was introduced to a steel manufacturer in 1967. In 1968 Newman dedicated Broken Obelisk to the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated that same year

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Went back this past weekend. Still cool, but I don't agree.

It's existentialistic. I don't believe in that. But it's still a nice place to go to if you like the peace and quiet. Plus, I like to giggle at the perplexed people who walk in and out in two minutes. I'll revisit in the future.

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I used to always comment on "old" topics - I suppose this is installed (I was in the neighborhood yesterday and today and had no idea a new sculpture had been installed)? I have to wonder though if the artist was really looking at the surrounding neighborhood when they designed the artwork? It seems like it could easilly be out of place - but I will reserve judgement until I see it later this week. Nice to see that atleast the New York Times keeps up with our arts "scene".

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interestingly the broken obleisk sculpture was first exhibited in New York city in front of the Seagrams building before the Menils brought it to HOuston.

As I recall it was offered to Houston's City Hall, but City Hall had a problem with it being dedicated to Martin Luther King so it ended up at Rothko.

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Not sure if this belongs here. Mods can move if you want. Saw this in today's WSJ. Renovations on the Rothko Chapel. 

 

Quote

Houston’s Rothko Chapel, the final masterpiece of one of 20th-century America’s most recognized artists, hasn’t led an easy existence. For a place meant to help visitors transcend their earthly travails, it has faced many. Mark Rothko died by suicide a year before the chapel opened in 1971, leaving his family and supporters to decide how best to foster his legacy in the face of the building’s subsidence, the city’s harsh sunlight, and humidity’s toll on his works.

In the latest and most ambitious effort to finally get it right, the ecumenical chapel is closing on Monday for renovation and expansion ahead of its 50th anniversary in 2021. The octagonal building, commissioned in the mid-1960s by Houston’s de Menil family, was designed as part of a total work with Rothko’s 14 enormous panels, in black and dark plum, to invoke a spirit of transcendence. That was always a delicate enterprise, and the aim of the current $30 million project is to do it better....

 

Full article with some cool pictures...

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-push-to-preserve-a-rothko-masterpiece-11551283796

 

 

 

 

 

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I've looked everywhere on this site for a post about this, but haven't been able to find anything. With this being one of the more important monuments in the city I feel this should be in going up.

 

From the HoustonChronicle:

 

Quote

Neighbors in the Menil enclave were surprised and dismayed Monday to see one of the Houston neighborhood’s famous gray bungalows being dismantled by a reclamation crew.

That building and several around it are owned by the Rothko Chapel, whose board has launched a multi-phase, $30 million campaign to better define its two-acre campus and improve visitor experiences to the legendary sacred space, one of the world’s most important public art sites.

Construction begins early next year on the first of three new buildings on Sul Ross; and the chapel will be closed for major renovations during much of next year, beginning March 4.

 

Read more about which homes will be removed, what will take their place and how these renovations could affect how you see the Chapel’s famous art at houstonchronicle.com.

 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/article/Why-will-the-Rothko-Chapel-be-closed-for-much-of-13455462.php#photo-16627134

 

Architecture Research Office (ARO) is the Architect.

 

Another article from Texas Architect:

 

https://txamagazine.org/2017/01/06/aro-working-renovation-master-plan-houstons-rothko-chapel/

 

Quote

To better serve as a venue for large groups, the chapel’s board, which is chaired by Rothko’s son, Christopher Rothko, decided it was time for an update.

“Their mission really encompasses both contemplation, which is the experience of being within the chapel, and action,” says Adam Yarinsky, FAIA, ARO principal and co-founder. “The impetus behind the project comes from trying to strengthen both of those aspects behind their mission. There has always been an issue with light levels within the chapel and creating better control of daylight within the space, so that’s [one] goal.”

In addition to improving the lighting, ARO will upgrade interior acoustics, address aesthetic differences between the walls and ceiling, and update weatherproofing and security systems. A new structure on the site will accommodate guest services, conferences, meetings, administrative spaces, and guest housing for visiting artists and scholars — leaving the chapel itself as a quiet, contemplative space. “The goal is to preserve an experience,” Yarinsky says. “Any adjustments made must be very carefully considered so you’re not changing any quality the chapel has now.”

 

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The Rothko Chapel master plan pdf:

 

http://rothkochapel.org/assets/pdfs/2017_annualreport.pdf

 

 

Work has commenced on this project as promised in the Chron article. I work around the block and live a few blocks away, so I'll keep this one updated as it rises.

 

workers on site

 

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work starting on the interior. construction fences have gone up all around the park.

 

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The two bungalows across the street have been demoed.

 

AQfdr0Q.jpg

 

The bungalows on the chapel side have not been demoed yet. They will be demoed when the admin building is complete.

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Like every museum in America, they need to expand and junk the place up with extraneous peripheral crap.

 

"guest services, conferences, meetings, administrative spaces, and guest housing for visiting artists and scholars"

 

It's never enough just to have the simple, original building. What are all these conferences and meetings that they didn't have the previous fifty years? How much administrative space does a single-room chapel need? Guest services? Other than a toilet and a coat rack? Could none of these have been done in the existing bungalows?


 

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I imagine among the priorities on the list, they just couldn't stand the popcorn ceiling.  Not hifalutin enough for their Houston on the world stage.  I think it grounds the proceedings more than a timely attempt to be timeless does.  That way, unlike the classy new Drawing Institute, they aren't trying so hard to out-Architecture the current anodyne institutional fashion in Los Angeles.

Edited by strickn
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3 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

Why? I consider losing the uniformity of the gray bungalows a bad thing.

 

 

They have not maintained those bungalows and they are looking rough, inside and out...

 

menil needs to renovate those buildings or else they should be considered a neglictful landlord, at least in my book.

Edited by Avossos
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You're right about maintenance of the bungalows, but they have seen the light and have been working on renovating the homes for the last two years. They are in the process of renovating all of the houses. They just put new windows in all of the houses that the Menil owns. I think they have finished restoring three or four of them now. We lived in four different Menil homes over the years up until two years ago. Our last backed up to the Drawing institute and they just fixed the rot and painted it. They are also raising the rent substantially. We paid roughly 1800.00 a month and one of the ones they just finished renovating and updating on Sul Ross was available for $3,400.00 now

They are planning on saving pretty much what is left around the Park and Menil building. 

The homes behind the chapel belong to the Rothko foundation. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update:

 

Landscape is being dug up at Rothko

 

0qUoLRj.jpg

 

Construction fencing and efforts to protect the oak trees

 

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Stakes are in the ground. Foundation work on the visitors center building should begin soon. Don't see stakes for the admin building yet.

 

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Sign outside the bungalow next door to the Chapel (thought I saw people inside packing things up).

 

hWmphvp.jpg

 

 

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Updates on this one (crap photo images warning):

 

Site of the Visitors Center

 

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Landscape around the Chapel

 

fUNutao.jpg

 

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The bamboo is gone (sadface)

 

They are also doing an incredible amount of site work. Way more than I thought would happen. The plans call for a massive update to the landscaping, but they are digging up the entire site right now.

 

Project is going both fast and slow. Probably won't update this again till they pour the foundation for the visitors center.

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Update (from my crappy phone camera):

 

More foundation work

 

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Road Closed at the moment

 

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This is why. They are doing some heavy duty utility work underneath

 

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Major site work looks to be done.

 

NBgycQ2.jpg

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Went to the Menil today to see how the new installation of the Menil looked. It really is a nice new display with a lot of new work. They just installed Joseph Havel's newly purchased works. A body of 12 drawings. They look great. 

The steel has gone up on the new visitor center. looks to be a two story structure set back on the west side of the fenced lot.

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1 hour ago, Luminare said:

Landscaping:

 

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My dream would be to landscape some or part of the Menil! They are using a lot of river birch instead of the bamboo. really good change. bamboo in houston is a dangerous idea.

 

looking forward to this!

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1 hour ago, Avossos said:

 

My dream would be to landscape some or part of the Menil! They are using a lot of river birch instead of the bamboo. really good change. bamboo in houston is a dangerous idea.

 

looking forward to this!

 

Definitely agree with the River Birch. While I really like Bamboo, its best in isolated courtyard environments in this region since it can be an invasive species. River Birch works really well with our climate. The only thing is that it will be very bare in the Winter. Which is unfortunate since Rothko was cool because it was green all seasons for the most part. The way they are planting them in rows will be very transformative. Finally it won't be just one big bare open space, but instead will feel like an actual framed space that you can enjoy without people watching all the time.

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Thanks for the link.  Call me a Philistine - you wouldn't be the first - but the Rothko Chapel has never done much for me.  I much preferred the Byzantine Fresco Chapel as a semi-religious place.  Anyway, I'm curious to see this when it is done.

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1 hour ago, Subdude said:

Thanks for the link.  Call me a Philistine - you wouldn't be the first - but the Rothko Chapel has never done much for me.  I much preferred the Byzantine Fresco Chapel as a semi-religious place.  Anyway, I'm curious to see this when it is done.

It's less about what is there, and more about what isn't there.

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