Rothko: Pictures Must Be Miraculous

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Mark Rothko (1903–1970) is considered one of the most renowned figures of the Abstract Expressionists, though he refused to adhere to any art movement. Over the course of his decades-long career, Rothko winnowed his artistic focus until he was working exclusively with the iconic set of forms that became synonymous with his name: rectangles against a contrasting background, carefully layered with sometimes hundreds of layers of pigment to produce a luminous, living color and inspire deep emotion. For Rothko, both the act of painting and the viewing of his work was considered a spiritual experience; he even famously returned a generous commission to the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City because he discovered that his finished works were intended for the walls of the restaurant. This film profiles the life and work of a man who often wrestled with great sadness even as he transformed the course of American art with his uncompromising vision. This screening is a special sneak preview in advance of the American Masters premiere on PBS.

Director Eric Slade in attendance for a post-screening Q&A.