RESTORING ROTHKO PAINTINGS WITH LIGHT.This article in the New Yorker by Louis Menand (April 1, 2015) tells how Harvard has found a way to restore/recreate the Rothko paintings by lighting them. Further, the time when the lights are turned off each day—four p.m.— has become an event. Museum goers gather at that time to watch the effect. Menand refers to this as “watching them turn off the Rothkos”.
After they were installed in 1964 in Harvard’s Holyoke Center, the eight and a half foot murals “quickly began to deteriorate”. By the time they were taken down in 1979, they “had lost most of their original color”.
Now the murals have been hung again, and five digital projectors have been programmed to light the canvases during the day so that the original colors reappear. When the projectors are turned off, “the colors revert to (mostly) muddy blacks and grays”.