Simon Schama's Power of Art


Season 1, Episode 8 of 8

Black On Maroon (1958) - New York, 1958. Rothko is commissioned to paint a series of large abstractions for what will be the Seagram Building restaurant - the Four Seasons, mid-town Manhattan. It is, says Rothko, "a place where the richest bastards in New York will come to feed and show off... I hope to ruin the appetite of every son of a bitch who eats in that room". For Rothko, this will be the iron test of art's power in the relentless drone of the modern world. Can it interrupt and startle, or will it just be waved away like an annoying waiter? Is it just another consumer durable, or the saving of our souls?

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