The Rothko Chapel is located on the Menil Campus in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood close to downtown Houston. A commission from the de Menil family, Mark Rothko created a chapel to support his desire to create art that could speak to people in a universal way. That no matter what language a person spoke or what religion they did or did not worship, they find shared meaning in the experience of this building and the art installation.
The space is comprised of 14 gigantic paintings created by mid-century American artist Mark Rothko at the height of his career. The building’s architects were Phillip Johnson, Howard Barnstone, and Eugene Aubry and the irregular octagonal brick building featuring the installation was meant as both a meditative and meeting space.
As he expressed in a letter to the de Menil’s in 1966, “…the magnitude, on every level of experience and meaning of the task in which you have involved me, exceeds all of my preconceptions. And it is teaching me to extend myself beyond what I thought was possible for me.”
Rothko died in 1970 before the art pieces were installed. The chapel serves as a meditative space meant to be a transformative interaction between the viewer and the art.
The space in its normal use is meant for quiet contemplation, meditation, and prayer, and holy books of various religions are made available. The space is used year round for special events for a huge variety from lectures, symposiums, music events, prayer
The Phillip Johnson designed “Broken Obelisk” is in the middle of a reflecting pool outside the Chapel and is dedicated to the late Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Chapel is open 365 days a year and is free to all. Photos are not allowed inside the chapel so as not to disturb the peaceful environment.
The Rothko Chapel, though managed separately, is located on the Menil Campus, which includes the Menil Collection. It is worth walking around the campus in combination with visiting the Rothko Chapel.
Have a group? The Rothko Chapel encourages groups to visit the chapel together to have a shared transformative experience with the art. Reservations aren’t required but are recommended.
Guided visits can sometimes be arranged for groups under 15 people for a suggested donation of $5 per person.
The Rothko Chapel was a commission to make a sacred space to be used by many for the benefit of all. Check their event calendar to find out specific times and dates for special cultural events.
3900 Yupon at Sul Ross
Houston, Texas 77006