Contemporary Conversations: The Rothko Chapel

4 February 2021 • 1:30 PM EST

Dedicated in 1971, the Rothko Chapel serves as a global destination for all faiths, a beloved sanctuary for contemplation housing 14 site-specific paintings by Mark Rothko. This autumn, following a year-and-a-half-long restoration to bring the space more in line with Rothko's original vision, the chapel reopened to the public.

Join critic Professor Shahidha Bari in conversation with custodian of the Rothko legacy Christopher Rothko, international curator, critic and art writer Dr David Anfam and Sotheby’s EVP, Chairman Lisa Dennison, honouring the Rothko Chapel's 50 years as a landmark of modern sacred art.

Contemporary Conversations: The Rothko Chapel

Meet the Panel

Christopher Rothko

Christopher Rothko, the second of Mark and Mary Alice Rothko's two children, is a psychologist, writer and for the last thirty years, the custodian of the Rothko legacy. He is editor of his father's book of philosophical writings, The Artist's Reality. His book of essays, Mark Rothko from the Inside Out, was published in 2015 by Yale University Press. Dr. Rothko has helped prepare more than two dozen Rothko exhibitions at museums and galleries around the globe and is co-curator of the recent Rothko exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. He is Past Chair of the Rothko Chapel Board and is currently head of the Opening Spaces Project, guiding the restoration of the Chapel and enhancement of its campus.


Professor Shahidha Bari

Shahidha Bari is an academic, critic and broadcaster. She is a Professor at the University of the Arts London, a presenter of BBC Radio 3's nightly Free Thinking programme, also known as the Arts and Ideas podcast, and the occasional host of BBC Radio 4's Front Row. She’s the author of Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes (2019), the winner of The Observer Anthony Burgess Arts Journalism Prize 2016 and has been a judge for the Forward Poetry Prizes and the Baillie Gifford Non-Fiction Prize. She writes for The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement and Frieze magazine.


Dr. David Anfam

David Anfam is Senior Consulting Curator at the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, and Managing Director of Art Exploration Consultancy Ltd., London. Dr. Anfam's many publications include Mark Rothko: The Works on Canvas – Catalogue Raisonné (Yale University Press, 1998), now in its sixth printing, and Lynda Benglis: In the Realm of the Senses (2020). Anfam's Abstract Expressionism (Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2016-17) was the largest survey of its kind ever held in Europe.


Lisa Dennison

Lisa Dennison is Chairman, Americas at Sotheby’s, focusing on international business development, a role that draws on her considerable strengths as an internationally recognized figure in the fields of Modern and Contemporary art.

From 1978 to 2007, Ms. Dennison was on the staff of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, most recently as Director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York and prior to that, as Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Foundation. Ms. Dennison organized over 35 exhibitions of Modern and contemporary art for major institutions around the world, many based on the museum’s renowned permanent collection, which she was instrumental in developing during her tenure. She is the author of more than 25 catalogue essays, and is a frequent lecturer at venues internationally. She serves on the Board of Directors of the International Center for Photography, and IFAR, the International Foundation for Art Research.


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