Travel Route: Houston – NASA – Rothko Chapel and the Menil collection

What is NASA’s new frontier?

The new frontier is Mars; sometime in the 2030s, humans will land there. The journey back and forth will take about 2-3 years, but we must first build a water supply, food, and other instruments. At the Space Center in Houston, one can see how NASA is reaching new heights in technology and science to explore the unknown.

When cropped into a camera’s lens, some exhibits, like the spaceship engine, look like an item in a modern art exhibition. 

The Menil Collection

Houston has a surprisingly exciting variety of art exhibits, primarily thanks to Dominique and John de Menil. Their art collection is exhibited in a few buildings within walking distance from each other, in a neighborhood of craftsman-style houses with lush green plants. Houston, in general, is lush greenery; there was no water shortage here. My main interest was to see the Rothko Chapel, which has been on my list of places to visit for many years. The rest of the exhibits were a fantastic bonus, including Dan Flavin’s playful art with fluorescent lights. Even Cy Twombly, whom I usually don’t get his thing with text and line, has some beautiful paintings in a structure dedicated to him exclusively. More about the Menill on this site.

The Rothko Chapel

“We saw what a great master can do for a religious building when he is given a free hand. He can exalt and uplift as no one else.” – Dominique de Menil, on commissioning Mark Rothko to create a sacred space for Houston

The Rothko Chapel is a nondenominational chapel affiliated with the Menil Collection. It’s a place that forces you into a silent, introspective, and meditative mode. The dark canvases, a mixture of black and purple, are floor-to-ceiling and very imposing. They radiate a sense of depression and death. Rothko often wrote about human tragedy, ecstasy, and doom; he suffered from depression. The Chapel paintings were his last major commission before committing suicide. More about the Rothko Chapel is on this site. More about the Rothko Chapel is on this site.