Since its inception in 1995, the Phyllis Wattis Distinguished Lecture Series of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has brought art scholarship and commentary of the highest caliber to the Bay Area. This year’s Wattis Lecturer, Thomas Crow—art historian, author, professor and director of the Getty Research Institute—focuses on the work of Mark Rothko and the role of color-field painting in avant-garde practice. In conjunction with the 2001 Wattis Lecture and Symposium, the Museum will present two permanent collection paintings by Rothko in its second-floor galleries: the brilliant 1960 painting No. 14, 1960 and an early abstract expressionist work from 1947–48.
The Marginal Difference in Rothko’s Abstraction
Thursday, May 24 – Reception: 6 p.m., The Schwab Room – Lecture: 7 p.m., Phyllis Wattis Theater
$12 general; $8 SFMOMA members, students with ID and seniors (ticket includes cocktail reception)
The work of Mark Rothko, well known for its abstracted fields of color and veiling of paint, is often positioned as a counterpoint to the gestures and drips of the Abstract Expressionists. In this program, Phyllis Wattis Distinguished Lecturer Thomas Crow reexamines Rothko’s legacy and his contributions to the strategies and positions of the avant-garde.
Saturday, May 26 – 1–5 p.m. – Phyllis Wattis Theater
$10 general; $6 SFMOMA members, students with ID and seniors
Considering Rothko through a variety of disciplines and contexts, this year’s Wattis Symposium brings together an impressive group of scholars to examine the artist’s work and and his relationship to avant-garde painting. Michael Leja, Sewell C. Biggs Professor of American Art at the University of Delaware, examines the dialogues Rothko conducted with some of his early reviewers in “Rothko and the Critics.” In “Rothko and Repetition,” Briony Fer, professor of art at University College, London, discusses Rothko’s work in the light of his engagement with and resistance to repetition as a pictorial strategy. The symposium concludes with a response and discussion by Wattis Lecturer Thomas Crow and David Antin, professor of art at the University of California, San Diego.
For additional information on Wattis Lecture Series programs, call 415/357-4100. Tickets are available at the Museum’s admissions desk, online at www.sfmoma.org, or by phone through Tickets.com (415/478-2277 or 510/762-2277; a surcharge will be applied). Event tickets include Museum admission.