In 1958, the Four Seasons restaurant in New York City commissioned Mark Rothko to paint a series of works for their dining room. Rothko accepted the commission but later regretted his decision, saying that the elite New York establishment went against his principles, and that he wanted to “ruin the appetite of every son of a bitch who ever eats in that room.” Eventually, Rothko returned the money and kept his paintings. With the Four Seasons restaurant planning to close, artists Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin pay tribute to Rothko, and to the beloved restaurant, with their project Mark Rice-Ko.
Hargreaves (who is mentioned in our "5 Photographers Who Are Hitting Big in 2016" post) and Levin have reimagined Rothko’s works using famous dishes from the Four Seasons restaurant. A behind-the-scenes video of Mark Rice-Ko shows some of Hargreaves’ and Levin’s process, dyeing materials like flour and rice and arranging them with care to create the lookalikes. While they acknowledge that their works are not quite as serious as Rothko’s response, the duo hopes that they've honored the artist as well as the restaurant.
Sharing a love for food, design, and the absurd, Hargreaves and Levin have worked together for over a decade. Their collaborations have included deep frying iPhones and creating food maps of countries. To learn more about the process of creating Mark Rice-Ko, check out the video and images below:
You can also check out Levin and Hargreaves’ joint website to see more of their collaborations.