by Barnett Newman......
" It had generated some controversy in Washington, a city known for its monumental sculptures, as it appeared as a reference to a broken upside-down Washington monument at a time of civil unrest in 1968. "
Barnett NewmanJanuary 29, 1905 – July 4, 1970
"Newman was unappreciated as an artist for much of his life, being overlooked in favour of more colorful characters such as Jackson Pollock. The influential critic Clement Greenberg wrote enthusiastically about him, but it was not until the end of his life that he began to be taken really seriously.?
The Broken Obelisk, a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., Rothko Chapel 1963-67 Cor-Ten steel, in two parts, overall 25' 5” x 10' 6" x 10' 6"
"Broken Obelisk was designed in 1963–64 and two were cast in 1967. First exhibited in front of the Seagram Building in New York and another next to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in 1969 another was cast for the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, while two others are permanently installed in Red Square on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle and in front of the Rothko Chapel in Houston.
The sculpture in Houston is dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. It was initially acquired from the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in 1971. In Washington, it had stood at the corner of New York Avenue, NW, and 17th Street. It had been part of an exhibit put on by the Corcoran in 1967 titled "Scale and Content" that included other sculptures.
These were Tony Smith's "Smoke and Glass" and Ronald Bladen's "The X". It had generated some controversy in Washington, a city known for its monumental sculptures, as it appeared as a reference to a broken upside-down Washington monument at a time of civil unrest in 1968.