Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rothko Chapel + Noodles: Dough-Thwacking & Hand-Stretching

A Mark Rothko Painting in Houston's Rothko Chapel.

Art: Enjoying
"The Rothko Chapel is a place apart. It calls for a different form of attention, 
a more hypnotic gaze than we are accustomed to expect.” –David Anfam

If you are ever in Houston, Texas, you must search out and visit the Rothko Chapel, located in central Houston. It is a part of The Menil Collection museum and located on the same grounds as that wonderful art museum (not far from Rice University and one block from the University of St. Thomas).
For the intimate, octagonal chapel,
the de Menils commissioned fourteen
massive canvases from Rothko
(who did not live to see the installation).

Mark Rothko's paintings are sublime color field works, that always evoke emotion in the viewer. Taken as a complete experience these huge paintings by the artist at the Rothko Chapel move into the realm of the spiritual. When you enter the chapel the paintings appear black due to the dim outdoor light coming indirectly  from the few openings in the building. As you sit quietly, your eyes adjust to see a rich field of varying deep purples. It is a place to quiet your soul and to think or to pray or to clear your mind and meditate. It is contemporary art,  as a non-denominational religious experience.
Dominique de Menil in the Rothko Chapel, c. 1987 photo by Adelaide de Menil Carpenter
In 1952 John and Dominique de Menil visited Sacré Coeur in Audincourt to see the stained-glass windows created by Fernand Léger; the Chapelle de Saint-Marie du Rosaire, designed by Henri Matisse with windows and murals by the artist; and the site where Le Corbusier’s design for Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp was to be constructed.  Back home in Houston, John wrote, "The split that now exists between the Church and creative art is of a concern to many. It is also a challenge . . . I have promised myself to encourage, within my means and reach, any attempt made to keep up the great tradition of the church.”
That  opportunity came in 1959, in the New York studio of artist Mark Rothko.  As Dominique wrote after the visit, the artist’s work would be “remarkable... for a chapel... so beautiful....” In 1964 the de Menils asked the painter if he would be willing to design a suite of paintings for a chapel for the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Architect Philip Johnson agreed to collaborate with Rothko on the project.  
As it evolved, the de Menils and the University of St. Thomas diverged on the purpose of the chapel. The Fathers’ ideas were more traditional and in 1969 the couple redefined the chapel as a non-sectarian worship space, siting it on land one block west of the university campus.   
Barnett Newman's Broken Obelisk
 While the chapel was being constructed, the de Menils presented the City of Houston with the Barnett Newman sculpture Broken Obelisk. They attached one condition to the gift: that the sculpture honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When the city declined the gift, the de Menils decided to install it outside the Rothko Chapel. Newman, in collaboration with Johnson, sited the work (the sculpture rises from a reflecting pool, in perfect alignment with the chapel entrance).
Since its dedication in 1971, the Rothko Chapel has become a spiritual landmark, central to Houston.

The Rothko Chapel
1409 Sul Ross Street
Houston, Texas
Hours: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Open every day of the year.

Now Showing:

Tony Smith Drawings
The Menil Collection 
December 17, 2010–April 3, 2011

“Tony Smith: Drawings” is a selection of rarely exhibited and early drawings by American artist Tony Smith (1912-1980). The work, executed within a limited time-period in the 1950’s, precedes Smith's emergence as a sculptor. Some 30 drawings were selected from Smith's estate and private collections.
Smith's drawings show forms inspired by nonobjective modular structures including staccato linear hatching, irregular interconnecting forms, and often brilliant colors. 
Smith, born in New Jersey, studied architecture under László Moholy-Nagy. After working for Frank Lloyd Wright, he moved to New York where he became friends with Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock and Clyfford Still. Smith was interested in Jean Arp's work and the geometric order, harmony, and structural patterns in natural forms.

1515 Sul Ross Street 
Houston, TX 77006
Phone: 713-525-9400
11:00 a.m – 7:00 p.m.   Wednesday – Sunday
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

The fine art of hand-made Chinese noodles.

Ever since I first experienced hand-stretched Chinese noodles, known as "la mian", they have become one of my favorite meals, but difficult to find.

The New York Times reported in October, that a new noodle shop opened in the NoLIta section of NYC, named Hung Ry. I will eat there as soon as possible. Why? My family and I were lucky enough to experience la mian noodles being made and were able to sample them, presented in a clear broth. No other food I tried during our trip to China was as subtle, delicate and delicious to me, as this meal.
Chinese noodles are categorized by the flour used in preparation: rice noodles are Fen and wheat noodles are Mian. Also you will find rice noodles with wheat starch and wheat noodles with rice, tapioca or corn starches added. 
Each creates a different effect on the palate when eaten. These noodles are either stir-fried or boiled in a broth.
Long noodles are traditionally served during Chinese New Year, Feb. 3 - 17 and Longevity Noodles are served on birthdays which should be eaten without biting through the long noodle.
Noodle makers in the Gansu province learned a thousand years ago, that adding "peng", a form of ash, tenderizes the dough. Hung Ry imports packages of peng for this purpose. The more the maker pulls the thinner the noodles become. Thin noodles are called "xi" and thick noodles are called "cu".
Good Chinese noodle dishes are also available at the Sheng Wang restaurant and at the Super Taste. The more pulled noodle shops, the merrier!

Sheng Wang
27 Eldridge St
(between Canal St & Division St) 
New York, NY 10002

Super Taste Restaurant
26 Eldridge Street

New York, 10002
(212) 625-1198
Open Weekdays 10am-11pm

Hung Ry 
55 Bond St., New York, NY 10012
nr. Bowery 
(menu below)

Quail egg, chili, seeds. 3
Daozi. 3
Stuffed pancake. 4
Beef momo. 3.5

Young greens, apple, ginkgo. 5.5
Seasonal vegetable plate. 6.5
Beef tongue, black chickpeas, carrots, pickled garlic broth. 7.5
Monkfish liver, pak shoi, longan, hen of the woods. 9
Lobster, black bean shoots, cucumber, radish, salted chilies. 9
Roasted marrow bone, fresh grated wasabi, celery root. 8
Veal head, broccoli, peanuts. 7

Brisket, tripe, smoked egg. Purple potato, onion, black mustard. 13
Chicken, liver ballotine. Corn cake, mache. 14
Mutton sausage, its sweetbreads. Salt preserved black cabbage. 14
Peking duck breast, leg, gizzard. Szechuan pepper, sweet peppers. 15
Lobster, scallop. Sunchoke, matsutake, truffle. 19
Pork belly, tail, tongue. Apple, turnip, crispy leaf. 13
Cold buckwheat noodle. Tomato, bush beans, sesame. 11
Rye noodle. Tamarind, squash, peppers, radish. 11

Apple soufflé, honey, walnuts. 8.5
Sorbets: pear, raspberry, blueberry. 
All with candied fruit. 2.5 ea.
Art Shopping:
Sacred Art (Book)
by Marie-Alain Couturier102 b/w illus.  Cloth
159 pages     1989

Price: $35

Year of the Rabbit
Tile Coaster

Tile coasters, measuring 4.25" x 4.25" and 1/6-inch thick. Images are applied with a polyester resin that accepts dye as part of the coating. Four felt pads protect your furniture from scratches. Dishwasher safe.

Price: $10.00

Until later,

© ARTS&FOOD,( All rights reserved, © Copyright Jack A. Atkinson 2011 Under All International, Digital, Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws. Images © Copyright individual Creators, Lenders or Fabricators.

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