Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Rothko's Seagram Murals @ Tate Liverpool

It may be old news, but there is something magical about Rothko's Seagam Murals. Although magical is not quite the right word, it's too light and sparkly for a sequence of works which are muscular, dense and crackling with some serious psychological juju.

I've never been a fan of the Tate Modern in it's current form, it's a big ugly, hard edged, over branded art box. But, when I lived down south I used to almost religiously visit the murals, which, like Chris Ofili's wonderful The Upper Room, are dripping with a powerful cloistral quality. You can't really look at these works, just point your face in the direction of the painting and bath your brain in their amazing hues and textures.

Now at the Tate Liverpool, a smaller, more colourful but still hard edged venue, The Seagram Murals have found a situation which is not only appropriate but even better than the Tate Modern. The industrial pillars, flagstone floor, gently vaulted roof lends a delicious industrio-spiritual flavour to what was previously simply a dimly-lit grey room.

A visit to see The Seagram Murals is like a visit to see an old friend... if that old friend is a succulent and slightly unsettling art experience.

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