Current Weather
The Spy FM

Mark Rice-Ko: Where Food and Rothko Meet In Delicious Harmony

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
November 30, 2012

Back in 1958, when Mark Rothko was commissioned to do a series of murals for The Four Seasons restaurant in New York, a place he believed was “where the richest bastards in New York will come to feed and show off,” his acceptance of the assignment was subversive at best. He hoped his art would “ruin the appetite of every son of a [beep] who ever eats in that room,” according to a Harper’s magazine article, “Mark Rothko: Portrait Of The Artist As An Angry Man.”

His distaste for the social elite led to a series of paintings that continue to captivate art enthusiasts of different backgrounds, tastes and generations. His painting, Orange, Red, Yellow 1961, sold on May 8 this year for $86.9 million at Christie’s.

Rothko eventually abandoned The Four Seasons project. Instead, he gave some of the pieces to the Tate Modern museum in 1969, just before committing suicide.

But the murals that were meant to ruin the appetite of wealthy patrons inspired chef/stylist Caitlin Levin and photographer Henry Hargreaves to interpret Rothko’s collection using rice.

“We had been doing a project about gradient food dye using several kinds of food like bananas, bread and rice and we thought, how about using rice to recreate Rothko’s paintings?” says Levin. Although dying rice is time consuming, Levin said it is an easier medium to work with than other foods when recreating the depth of color found in Rothko’s pieces.

This collaboration between Hargreaves and Levin took three days to complete, each piece taking two to three hours. Levin said her two greatest challenges were mixing the food colors to match Rothko’s original work and to feather the edges of the rice art as seen on the paintings.

After Mark Rice-Ko was completed, the colorful rice faced a new fate, “We made coconut rice with it. It turned an Army green color but it tastes the same,” Levin says of the dyed leftovers.

Check out the slide show above to view more of Levin/Hargreaves’ rice art. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

12AM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center