In 1964, the American artist Mark Rothko began a series of black paintings. In the Rothko Chapel, where 14 such works hang, it is not unusual for viewers who enter to think they see nothing: the paintings are so subtle they appear to be dark panels. But as one looks, depending on the angle and intensity of the light, Rothko’s canvases slowly reveal crepuscular depths and textures, an interstellar silence. John and Dominique de Menil, who commissioned the paintings for their chapel, wished to combine the sacred and the spiritual in a space for “interfaith celebration and contemplation, as well as to foster community engagement on social issues.” Completed in 1971, the chapel was closed last year for a much needed restoration. It has now reopened. The grounds have been expanded to include a meditation garden, and inside the chapel a reconceived skylight reanimates the Rothkos. —C.J.F.
Rothko Chapel 3900 Yupon St, Houston, TX 77006 Get Directions »