Rothko toast wherever you go.
I’ve been avoiding going by to see the demolition progress at SFMOMA. It seems I became quite attached to the place over the last four years and not working there anymore sort of hurts. I’ve commiserated with other museum staff who feels the same, but they say the most painful part is not getting their Blue Bottle Coffee on the roof every morning! Sweet people. After running into a few of them at the soft (re)opening of the SFMOMA museum store yesterday, I finally worked up the gumption to just go see it for myself already. I’m sorry I don’t have a before picture for you here, but before where that white part is, there used to be a bridge that took you to the rooftop cafe! Do you feel my pain, people?
The thing about working in the museum was that the inspiration was right there all the time. Sure it’s sad that we don’t have that set-up anymore and there is no denying that the transition has been a bit trying, but to be faced with going out in the world find the things that inspire- that is something to embrace! There is so much art to see. Most major art institutions around the world have at least one Mark Rothko painting hanging or as part of their collection. Rothko was typically identified alongside the Abstract Expressionist movement, but was also considered a color-field painter. His most famous paintings feature blurred rectangles of color resting on an abstract ground. While some of SFMOMA’s permanent collection goes into storage, their Rothko can be viewed across the street at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, as part of a collaborative exhibition, “Beyond Belief”.
The great thing about making your own Rothko-inspired toast, is that you can really do it anywhere there is toast and jam. While at a family wedding brunch in Phoenix last year my dad asked what sorts of things we had been making at work. Gathering materials from the breakfast buffet, I made him a Rothko toast right then and there, pulled up an image of SFMOMA’s Rothko painting on my phone and Voila! art-based treats anywhere you are. Like at the breakfast buffet at the Holiday Inn in Chandler, Arizona. And, your kids can even make it!
Shortly after we released the Rothko toast, we received many links to artists who use toast to make works of art. I recognize that I have developed a bit of a problem getting through a museum exhibition without thinking about every other work as a potential dessert… but now I have another problem: not being able to eat my morning toast without making it art first.
I love this photo of Rothko in his studio in 1964. Surely he is contemplating what preserve would pair best with the raspberry jam color he just put down on the canvas.
Mark Rothko was serious about his work and the experience of color. If he were still around, I’m not sure what he would think about our various renditions (popsicle, red velvet cake and toast) on his paintings, but each time we prepared a Rothko toast, it helped to keep the painting in mind to attain that unmatched glow. So even though Rothko might have despised a toast in honor of his work, we are thankful he made paintings that inspired it. We use Acme’s giant pain de mie, which might not fit so well in your lunch bag, but is great for sharing. Another option is to get those little mini brioche toasts and bring a whole collection of Rothkos in your lunch bag to share with friends!
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