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Rothko Chapel, Houston

(3.2/5 based on 260+ reviews on the web)
The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominational chapel in Houston, Texas, founded by John and Dominique de Menil. The interior serves not only as a chapel, but also as a major work of modern art. On its walls are fourteen black but color hued paintings by Mark Rothko. The shape of the building, an octagon inscribed in a Greek cross, and the design of the chapel was largely influenced by the artist.Susan J. Barnes states "The Rothko Chapel...became the world's first broadly ecumenical center, a holy place open to all religions and belonging to none. It became a center for international cultural, religious, and philosophical exchanges, for colloquia and performances. And it became a place of private prayer for individuals of all faiths"On September 16, 2000, the Rothko Chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.HistoryIn 1964 Rothko was commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil to create a meditative space filled with his paintings. The works are site-specific, one of the requirements of the program. As Rothko was given creative license on the design of the structure, he clashed with the project's original architect, Philip Johnson over the plans for the chapel. The plans went through several revisions and architects. Rothko continued to work first with Howard Barnstone and then with Eugene Aubry, but ultimately he did not live to see the chapel's completion in 1971. After a long struggle with depression, Rothko committed suicide in his New York studio on February 25, 1970.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Having heard for many years about the Rothko chapel, I decided to take the family there as a side trip from the Menil Collection. It is an unassuming building from the outside but the whole environmen...  more »
  • I love this place inside and out. The feeling inside the chapel is calming an inclusive. Great place to mediate and pray . Sitting outdoors by the reflecting pool is such a great place to enjoy the ou...  more »
  • Architecture of clear lines, but with a sophisticated concept, immersed in a garden of trees. Octagonal form, where you can sit in the chapel on either side to look at the paintings in shades of purple. At the entrance you have books of various religions, an invitation to share without fear the space with the other be it that religion is, to be in communion with himself, for together share the space that exudes meditative peace and harmony. Where we can find it these days? Wonderful! Not to be missed!
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Google
  • Amazing place to just get away from the outside world to a place of serenity and tranquility. I wish I had this place in my back yard. Very quite and peaceful.
  • Beautiful space - great for meditation and contemplation. No need to associate with any religion. The "murals" help to let your mind wander and the light is beautiful.
  • Nice, meditative space. Great location and love that all religions and walks of life are welcome here!
  • We went on a rainy, overcast day and because all of the lighting is reflected natural light, the room was very dim. We sat for quite a while in silence, a time I had been looking forward to, but instead of any sense of the spiritual I felt an increasing emptiness that became unsettling. We eventually walked the perimeter of the room to examine the paintings more closely, and while I can appreciate and marvel at the scale of the work and the subtlety of color and form each painting represents, both the room and the work felt severe and unwelcoming. It would be interesting to learn if my response to the Chapel varies on a brighter day, but after this visit I just felt like I was straining to see and feel something that wasn't there.
  • I absolutely fell in love the minute I walked. The Rothko chapel is great place to meditate - the ambience of the large room paired with the art pieces on the wall couldn't be any better. I only wish we had something along the lines of the chapel in Los Angeles!