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Films about Rothko

June 1, Tuesday

I'm not an abstract artist, I'm not interested in the relationship of colour or form or anything else. I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions - tragedy, ecstasy, doom and so on…The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience as I had when I painted them.
Mark Rothko

Rothko's Rooms

Filmed on both sides of the Atlantic, Rothko’s work constantly fills the screen, interspersed with penetrating contributions from his daughter, Kate, his son, Christopher, and insightful comments from a wide range of friends, artists, art historians, collectors and curators. The focus of the documentary is on Rothko’s demands for the perfect setting for the showing of his work, an ideal he pursued throughout his creative life. This is typified by the controversial story of his iconic Seagram Murals. One of the murals’ commissioners, architect Philip Johnson, is among those who explain why Rothko refused to allow these works to hang in their intended venue, the exclusive Four Seasons restaurant in Seagram building on New York’s Park Avenue.
Rothko's rooms, BBC, 2000, 60 minutes

Rothko: An Abstract Humanist

Watch this film as it reveals a rare examination of the life and work of Mark Rothko. Rothko gave abstraction the emotional power of music and poetry. He painted ideas rather than objects and, in the process, created a deeply original pictorial language. One of the most important artists of his generation, Rothko is perhaps best known for his work in the style of the New York School and was a peer of many other illustrious abstract artists: Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Franz Kline, and Robert Motherwell, to name only five.
Rothko: An Abstract Humanist, BBC, 2003, 52 minutes

Greenberg on Art Criticism: An Interview by T. J. Clark

Join us, as we screen this important interview between two of the most influential players in art history and criticism of modern times. Thirty years after the heyday of Abstract Expressionism, one of its principal champions sat down with historian T. J. Clark to discuss the evolution of art criticism and issues surrounding modernist painting. This program documents their conversation, spotlighting Clement Greenberg’s reflections on his career and its place in the wider arenas of art theory, art journalism, and the philosophy of aesthetics. While he frequently deflates the seriousness of many of his earlier pronouncements, Greenberg shares a number of insights on the relationship between art and history, the nature of value judgments in criticism, and what he calls America’s post-WWII “culture boom.”
Greenberg on Art Criticism: An Interview by T. J. Clark, (25 minutes) Produced by the Open University, 2002

The Power of Art: Rothko

Life, death, heroism, tragedy— all subjects that, until the latter half of the 20th century, propelled the canon of Western art. How do the abstractions of Mark Rothko figure in that tradition? Are they, in a sense, its swan song? This program depicts Rothko’s engagement with timeless themes that dominated his thinking long after the mythic grandeur of Abstract Expressionism had yielded to the calculated banality of Pop. Host Simon Schama presents an impassioned study of Black on Maroon as well as compelling discussions of Rothko’s subway paintings, The Green Stripe, numerous untitled works, the images enshrined at the Rothko Chapel, and other selections from the Seagram’s project.
The Power of Art: Rothko, BBC, 2006, 53 minutes