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How South Americans Can ‘Virtually’ Visit A Houston Landmark

Smartphone technology allows Colombians to experience the Rothko Chapel’s tranquility.


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View of the Rothko Chapel at MAMM
Yohan Lopez
View of the Rothko Chapel at MAMM

Last fall, Houston's Rothko Chapel was approached by Colombia's Museum of Modern Art in Medellin with a unique request.

"Could we help create a Rothko Chapel-esque exhibit within the exhibition?" the chapel's Executive Director David Leslie explains.

The Museo de Art Moderno Medellin (or MAMM) is hosting the exhibit, exploring the intersection of spirituality, culture, and art. That's why they enlisted the Rothko, whose mission aligns with the exhibit's theme. With some creative thinking and smart technology, the curators created a 360-degree virtual reality experience of the chapel.

View of the Rothko Chapel at MAMM
Yohan Lopez
View of the Rothko Chapel at MAMM

"But then we took it a step further," says MAMM's Chief Curator Emiliano Valdes. "We implemented a little station inside the museum where you can access those images through a cell phone or through an application called Google Cardboard."

Basically, Google Cardboard is a little cardboard box fashioned as a pair of glasses. Visitors can slip their smartphones inside to take a virtual reality tour of the chapel's interior.

But the tech aspect is just one layer of an exhibit whose meaning goes much deeper.

"This just is another example and a great opportunity for us to share, to some extent, as Houston ambassadors for arts and culture," Leslie says.

Concerning the Spiritual in Art: Overture is running through September 11th at the Museo de Art Moderno Medellin in Colombia.

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