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Rothko Loses Out To Phallicism Once Again

from Ananova

Abstract art ‘hung wrong way round’ by Tate


Two abstract paintings may have been hung the wrong way round by curators at the Tate Modern in London.

The paintings by Mark Rothko, from the Black on Maroon series, have been hung vertically with bold stripes running from top to bottom.

However, Rothko is thought to have wanted the works – which he donated to the Tate – to be hung with the stripes running horizontally and the location of his signature on the back of the paintings is believed to reflect this wish.

Despite the artist’s signature, the correct way to display the works have never been agreed because there are no photographs available to indicate for certain how Rothko wished the works to be hung.

Further complicating the issue is which of the two possible horizontal displays is the correct one, creating a risk of hanging the paintings upside-down.

Although the Tate hung them horizontally for nine years, they were changed to vertical by the then director, the late Sir Norman Reid, on the advice of a colleague, according to reports.

In 1987, the works were returned to their horizontal hang for a special Rothko exhibition. The catalogue at the time stated that the artist’s signature on the back of the canvasses indicated that this was the correct position.

However, when the paintings were moved to the Rothko Room at the Tate Modern in 2000, they were once again shown on a vertical axis.

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Posted on November 17, 2008 by Editor

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