PaperCity Magazine

September 2019- Houston

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Page 33 of 183

32 Illuminated EVENING ART + ACTIVISM EXTOLLED AT ROTHKO CHAPEL GALA By Catherine D. Anspon Photography Jenny Antill Clifton W hen an art-world pilgrimage site that's also a beacon for human rights edges towards the half-century mark, the occasion calls for une grande fête. So it was when the Rothko Chapel held a gala — only the fourth ever in its 48-year history — at The Astorian. Three power chair couples — Melanie Lawson and John Guess Jr., Nancy and Erik Littlejohn, and Tatiana and Craig Massey — contributed to the deconstructed black-tie night, which was appropriately titled Illumination. The gala honored three leaders in art and activism: Houston's Reverend William Lawson, a trailblazer in the Civil Rights movement and founding pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, and Ballroom Marfa co- founder Fairfax Dorn and husband Marc Glimcher of Pace Gallery renown, both in from New York. The gathering, which was emblematic of Rothko Chapel founders Dominique and John de Menil, coincided with the Rothko's milestone Opening Spaces campaign. As outlined in remarks by Mark Rothko's son, Christopher Rothko — the keeper of his father's legacy, in from Manhattan — the ambitious project restores and updates the sacred space; adjusts lighting levels on the vaporous, mystical suite of canvases by the late American master painter Mark Rothko; features new greenscapes by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects; and adds a visitor center. More than 350 guests savored this joyful salute to the Chapel's future. Cocktails segued into a seated dinner by A Fare Extraordinaire, and a finale set to an avant-garde performance by Austin-based composer and bandleader Graham Reynolds. The bottom line — $330,000 towards the next chapter of the Chapel — sets the stage for its 50th anniversary commemorations, come 2021. (Stay tuned for the reopening of the Rothko Chapel in early 2020.) Christopher Rothko Co-chairs John Guess Jr. & Melanie Lawson, Nancy & Erik Littlejohn Co-chairs Tatiana & Craig Massey Honorees Marc Glimcher & Fairfax Dorn Michael Piana, David Leslie Sverre & Carrie Brandsberg-Dahl Christopher Rothko & Lori Cohen Olivia & Cruz Ortiz Reggie & Leigh Smith Lynn Wyatt (continued on page 34) Sebastien "Mr. D" Boileau

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