‘Mark Rothko 1968: Clearing Away’

‘I want to create a state of intimacy—an immediate transaction.’ Mark Rothko

We designed the catalogue for Pace gallery’s inaugural show at its new Hanover Square London space, an exhibition of small acrylic works on paper by abstract painter Mark Rothko.

‘Rothko, 1968: Clearing Away’ was the first show devoted to a portion of the artist’s oeuvre when after suffering an aortic aneurysm, doctors instructed him to stop painting the enormous canvasses for which he was known.

With essays by the artist’s son, the book is very much a personal affair. Our design includes a photoessay of enlarged details dramatising moments of engagement with Rothko’s work. We overcame some of the notorious challenges of reproducing his colours and textures by using a six-colour printing process to allow for more tonal gradation. A coated paper offering an uncoated feel and typesetting in KW Sammlung communicate a degree of informality. The reproduction quality combined with our design decisions mean that the grey slimline hardback volume signals as a vital addition to the Rothko canon while drawing attention to the humanity of his work.

  • Year: 2021
  • Client: Pace
  • Location: London, New York
  • Category: Publication

Photography: Thomas Adank