Rothko Chapel

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1409 Sul Ross St., Houston, TX 77006 1409 Sul Ross St., Houston Directions
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From Our Editors

The 14 massive purple-black murals by Russian-born American artist Mark Rothko that fill the cavernous space at Rothko Chapel don't just contribute to the building's name, but also to its nature. "Stepping back, waves of subtle color difference appear across the broad surfaces—leading to an unmistakable impression of physical depth," says NPR's Pat Dowell about staring into one of the colorful canvases. The experience is often a transformative one, creating within some viewers the sensation of gazing into infinity.

Commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil and designed with the input of Mark Rothko himself, Rothko Chapel was dedicated in 1971 as an independent, intimate non-denominational sanctuary. Since then, its renown has only grown; it now occupies a coveted spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Outside the Chapel, Broken Obelisk by Barnett Newman serves as a starkly elegant memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And yet, for all of its inscrutable beauty, the chapel is also a place of action—a value echoed in the chapel's mission statement. Throughout the year, public programs including concerts, storytelling, lectures, and guided meditation tackle issues of injustice and human struggle. The Chapel serves as a place for a range of interfaith services for religious communities in search of space, hosting everything from holy days and spiritual celebrations to memorial services and wedding ceremonies.

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