Rothko, “Red”, and a day away…

Today we took a “vacation” day.  We went to a matinee at Portland Center stage….haven’t been there yet?  Do go…

we went to see “Red” a play by John Logan about the painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970).  The play was fascinating, mordant, funny…worth the trip up I-5…

and then on to the Portland Art Museum where there is a show of paintings by Mark Rothko.  Rothko and his family (the Rothkowiczs) came from Latvia to Portland in 1913.  Rothko attended Shattuck grade school and Lincoln High School before going on to Yale and New York, and the world beyond.  His story, not unlike the story of Manuel Izquierdo, fascinates me.  A kid, age 10 or 16, arrives in Portland from Spain or Latvia, speaking no English, and in 10 years is on a different path…a path to a mature body of art work fueled by a fierce determination and work ethic.

The show of Rothko’s paintings at PAM had some wonderful surprises for me…the earlier work that predates the famous “Mark Rothko” that we know so well.  (The new museum policy allowing photos…except for the painting Paul Allen owns…is brilliant for me.)

You’d better go take a look…


  1. “Red” is certainly worth the trip! Found it very stimulating, moving, wonderfully well crafted. I covet the roll-about easels, the marvelous carpentry cart w/ the saw horses, the space! and the so-capable studio assistant! Next stop, the museum and the real thing.

  2. OMG what a STUDIO! Now that was a set we really felt at home in…and the storage for paintings…perfect. Really the most moving part for me was near the end when the lights came up and the red paintings glowed…it is really the work that has a life of it’s own…and for me that is part of the compulsion of making. And the theater is a gem…so unassuming on the outside and so modern and gorgeous inside. Salem had a nice armory, once upon a time…

    1. yes, salem did have a nice armory, and that building, portland center stage, is certainly a stunner. dave is thinking maybe it’s on the spot that used to be the fox theater? (he painted a fab huge oil of that street corner from what used to be the metro on broadway with the fox theater’s sign and other architectural & street details of the 90’s.) we hope to see these two shows. we’ve been missing portland.

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