Mark Rothko – The Art of Conservation – MOCA U – MOCAtv

Mark Rothko – The Art of Conservation – MOCA U – MOCAtv

My name is Tatyana Thompson I’m a paintings conservator. I’m the paintings conservator for the Museum of
Contemporary Art and I have a private practice in Santa Monica. Well the Museum
of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is extremely fortunate to have a very
important and large collection of Rothkos… actually 13 in number and
because the collection is so important. We really want to do as much as we can
to preserve these paintings for future generations. As with most paintings in
all museum collections they need to be constantly monitored and observed for
changes in condition. What we want to do with the Rothkos at this time is to take them off exhibition so we can do a thorough analysis of their
condition and come up with a baseline evaluations so that we can know in the
future if any changes have occurred. Once the paintings have been removed from the exhibition spaces they will be taken down into the storage area of the museum,
and we will begin to examine them both front and back for their
condition. While we are examining them and documenting anything that we might find we will also be doing very thorough photography. This includes front and back, many many
details….taken in regular light, raking light, and specular light. We also have started to use the iPad with our documentation, which has turned out to be
very handy because we can take a photograph with the ipad and then with
various apps actually zoom in on specific issues or specific areas of
interest and notate that with with text. So it’s very handy and will be very
useful I think in the future for people looking at the painting to be able to
see exactly where whatever issues we found are. At this point I don’t expect
to find anything anything out of the ordinary. They have a
bit of dust buildup which is completely normal in any kind of museum exhibition
environment. So we will be dusting them and checking the backs of the paintings
making sure that the support tension is proper and that the backing boards are
archival. We do know that a number of them are not so we will be replacing them with archival backing board. Because they are in such
excellent condition we do just want to make sure that they are preserved for
the future and do some very basic preservation treatments that will
ensure this. We do know that Rothko’s paintings are very fragile
and are subject to… especially subject to problems with exposure to light and to
fading and there have been examples of that occurring in other paintings in
other situations in the past and of course we want to be very careful here
that won’t happen to our paintings and that is mostly being very sure that
they’re not exposed to excessive amounts of light for long periods of time. So in
that spirit we are taking them off exhibition for probably approximately
nine to twelve months in order to give them a rest from
light and light exposure and also to do these basic preservation and
conservation treatments.


  • Autohypnosis says:

    I was sad to see the Rothkos weren't on exhibit the last time I went to MOCA, but I figured it was for just this kind of reason. Looking forward to their return. I can't get enough of that magical room.

  • MOCA says:

    Mark Rothko’s paintings are vast fields of color that radiate from immense, life-size canvases. Go behind the scenes with conservator Tatyana Thompson as she prepares MOCA's collection of thirteen Rothko paintings for exhibition, and preserves their greatness for future generations:

  • Vasco Torres says:

    Grande artista o Mark Rothko.

  • savvysearch says:

    I can't believe a single museum has 13 Rothkos. And from what I can see, these aren't minor Rothkos either.

  • Matt Fox says:

    00:24–00:34 – fantastic reveal

  • vagvll says:

    i dont wont to be disrespectful , i know nothing about art, but what the hell do you see in this paintings that is so extraordinary?Just read that one of his paintings was sold for 45 mil.what if i got myself a paintbrush and just did  a 2 color square painting,what would be different?I am asking out of real curiosity not trying to be a smart ass.

  • Jacob Thompson says:

    What a beautiful collection. I would love to see it some day. I am wondering about how Rothko stretched his canvas. It looks like at 1:17 that that painting's top and bottom is gallery wrapped while the sides of the piece are attached on the sides. Is there any specific reason for him to have done this?

  • kawakami789 says:

    It's funny how art "experts" think that this is good art. The only reason they consider these to be masterpieces is because it is trendy to do so. They try to give long complicated explainations on why Rothko is a "genius" which make no sense to anyone. ANYONE who says they understand what Rothko was trying portray in his paintings is a liar. Even Rothko couldn't give you a relevant explainations of to why his work is a "masterpiece". If you showed the true masters a piece by rothko they would laugh and throw it away. Artistic Talent is not painting giant rectangles. Just because art has monetary value doesn't automatically give it artistic value. I have an awesome portrait that isn't worth much to anyone but me, which shows literally a million times more artistic ability than any Rothko. Actually I've seen some children's paintings with a lot more artistic value. Most of the "experts" in art are those who don't have the talent to be artist themselves.

  • Stanko Cvijanović says:

    Rothko's paintings are stupid.that guy have some problems in his brain and the people who like his pictures.also this woman is on drugs probably

  • martinjanss janss says:

    rothko is trash    a     child   with age 4   does it better and more Original

  • Drr magneto says:

    a big lie to steal money lol

  • Mang Oding says:

    I can do what he did… just painting colors.. done!

  • Mang Oding says:

    My kid can do this!

  • martinjanss janss says:

    who   shit likes  has to be  themselves shit  to appreciate  this

  • anne drew says:


  • Christopher Billionaire says:

    And these are great artworks?

  • Alexander Petrohv says:

    what about lights which only switch on, if someone enters the room and switch off when the person leaves the room?

  • Abdullah says:

    Money laundering !

  • CheckMySix says:

    OMG … Please spare Me the pretentious Bullshit,How a piece of purile shit like these Rothko Paint charts
    can command high Millions is beyond logical reason in the majority of the general populus ,its the elitist
    so called art world that have created this madness to make themselves seem more educated than the rest of us
    with their Arty Farty talk.
    Got to hand it to Rothko and his ilk,they sold the Emperor his new clothes for Millions, its true "a fool and his money are easily parted" GREAT SCAM

  • True Delorenzo says:

    nice i love this art in downtown LA i have been there at least 3 times to see them

  • marck ferrari says:

    Ipads are shit for photography

  • murphy murphy says:

    art hahahaha

  • murphy murphy says:

    I wouldn't have 1 for free

  • Cédric Duguay says:

    Hater gonna hate

  • M.A. Lamett says:

    Wow what a genius. Dark red rectangle over light red, dark brown rectangle over light brown and the yellow rectangle with brown rectangle is my favorite. Rothko was a "real" artist. He could see through the soul of nature and describe the entirety with simple rectangles which radiate from the canvas. One of the greatest painters of all times. He would have amazed Rembrandt for sure. Truly amazing!

  • Astra-Boyz The Band says:

    How in tge hell no6 was sold for 189m…i mean it looks like shit…what is wrong with this world??

  • Mike King says:

    the way he feathers in the red square to the brown square is genius said my 3 year old toddler

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *