This year Portland experienced a unique phenomenon that could well be called “The Rothko Spring.
With support from the Oregon Cultural Trust, the Portland Art Museum staged a comprehensive exhibition of Mark Rothko’s work, the first such showing in Portland since 1934. In April, at the museum, Chief Curator Bruce Guenther spoke about Rothko’s work and legacy, and the music ensemble Third Angle performed Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, a musical ode to the artist, to a sold-out hall. The concert was also supported by a grant from the Cultural Trust.
The buzz did not stop there. In February and March, Portland Center Stage, (a Cultural Trust grantee since 2006), adapted John Logan’s Tony Award winning play, Red, about Rothko’s struggle against the commoditization of his art.
The result? A citywide celebration of Rothko, an artist as important for his connection to Oregon as he was for his style and grand use of color.
Mark Rothko arrived in Portland at age 10 from Northern Russia. As an adult he moved away but he gravitated back to the Northwest time and again until his death in 1970. However, his connection to Oregon’s art history was almost forgotten.
Thanks to the Cultural Trust and some of Portland’s most important arts organizations Mark Rothko has once again become a household name in the region.
What is the Cultural Trust? The Trust is you. The Trust is Oregonians sustaining, developing and participating in our arts, heritage and humanities.
The Oregon Cultural Trust provides support for collaborations like Rothko – and many more - that impact and change the lives of Oregonians. You can be involved – and make culture happen in every corner of Oregon.
So, this spring, say Yes! to Oregon culture. Renew your museum or historical society membership; give to your favorite literary or performing arts group. Answer a public radio or television pledge drive. Then match your donations with a contribution to the Oregon Cultural Trust. Your gift to the Trust costs you nothing – thanks to Oregon’s cultural tax credit – but its benefit to the cultural community is enormous.
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