Win tickets to see RED in the West End plus dinner and a night at One Aldwych hotel.
Mark Rothko is known as one of the greatest abstract expressionists of his generation (although, we should probably say that he personally refused to be associated with any particular art movement or style). His paintings have an incredible depth, and create the feeling that however long and hard you look at them, there is something buried within these artworks that you can’t quite reach. So you sit, and look a little longer.
If you’ve ever sat in the Rothko room at the Tate Modern, surrounded by some of the artist’s vast canvases, you might recognise this sensation that he was pushing us towards with his abstract blocks, created with numerous thin coats of cleverly applied colour – it’s about finding clarity, understanding and experiencing something that is physically bigger than ourselves.
For a man who had been brought up in the orthodox Jewish community in Russia, but who had given up religious practice after the death of his father, painting was a sort of act of worship.
The takeaway from this gallery-based experience? Clearly, Mark Rothko was a complex man.
In the 1950s, as he began to experience significant success on the New York art scene, Rothko was approached by the Four Seasons to complete a commission for their restaurant. Now known as the Seagram murals, the 40 completed paintings in dark red and brown were, at the time, the largest commission in the history of modern art. However, Rothko’s decision to accept the commission was strange – especially as he told a journalist in confidence that his hope was to create ‘something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room…’
Drama, obviously followed. Some of the paintings in question are now located in that room we were discussing at London’s Tate Modern rather than in New York, which tells you something. The events that ensued became notorious and, as a story, became a prime topic for a stage play. And then an actual play: John Logan’s RED.
As it returns to London’s West End, for the first time since its world premiere at the Donmar Warehouse in 2009, we (the long-time Rothko fans at artrepublic) have two tickets to give away to you, our art lovers.
RED has been described by the New York Times as being a play ‘with such fierce conviction that it never lets you look away.’ The plot follows Rothko’s experience when, having just received the largest commission in the history of modern art, he finds himself consumed by warring desires for integrity and success.
Having headed up the original London cast, award-winning stage and screen actor Alfred Molina (Raiders of the Lost Ark; Chocolat; Frida; Spiderman 2) reprises his role as Rothko, while breakthrough British actor Alfred Enoch (How to Get Away with Murder; Harry Potter) takes the part of Rothko’s fictional young assistant, Ken, who provokes him to make an agonising discovery about the price of fame.
With this cast, and six Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Direction to its name, Red is certainly not a story to be missed.
If you’d like to win a pair of tickets to the press night of RED in London’s West End, with a pre-theatre dinner and an overnight stay at One Aldwych, as well as a £100 artrepublic gift voucher, Enter our competition here. Plus 5 runners up will each win a pairs of tickets to see the play. T’s and C’s apply.