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 are going to 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 for new heights in technology and science to explore the unknown.

Some of the exhibits, when cropped into a camera’s lens, look like modern art exhibitions. 

What is the Menil Collection?

Houston has a surprisingly exciting variety of art exhibits, mostly 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 very green, with lots of water.  My main interest was to see the Rothko Chapel, which has been on my list 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 pieces in a structured 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 one of those places that forces you into a silent, introspective, meditative mode.  The intensely dark, imposing, floor to ceiling, dark purple, and black canvases brought me a sense of depression and death.  Rothko often wrote about human tragedy, ecstasy, and doom.  He suffered from depression and was in a dark place.  The Chapel was his last major project before committing suicide.  The intense ambiance of the place penetrated me.  More about the Rothko Chapel on this site.