Which is Rothko, and which is ADCO?

Three years ago, the staff of ADCO had our annual Christmas party at Hobby Lobby. After refreshments, each us was given a canvas and paints, and challenged to create something for the walls of our offices.

We were encouraged to paint in the style of Mark Rothko, and most of us cooperated. We were generally pleased with the results, which you can still see today adorning the walls of 1220 Pickens St.

Fast-forward to this year…

Last Thursday, our office Christmas party consisted of lunch at Hampton Street Vineyard, followed by a tour of the Rothko exhibit at Columbia Museum of Art.

Now, here’s a test of your artistic perspicacity: Above and below are images of two paintings. Can you tell which is by ADCO, and which is by Rothko himself?

No cheating! To check yourself, you may look it up on Google Images after you share your answer. You’re all on the honor system, and sure, you are all honorable men. And women.


11 thoughts on “Which is Rothko, and which is ADCO?

  1. Phillip

    Nice in-the-style-of! I like the idea of that Christmas party project…so maybe since 2013 is the 100th anniversary of the Rite of Spring, y’all can each write a advertising jingle in the style of Stravinsky 😉

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      But I think they are wordsmiths and visual artists at ADCO. You’d need to write the music and they’d write the words.

      I think the bottom one is more typical of Rothko, but maybe that’s a double fake.

  2. Jennifer Fitz

    I’m guessing Rothko on the top, ADCO on the bottom. Because of the brushwork and the layers of color on the top one. Both of them look awfully cheerful, though.

    (Haven’t Googled, am not going to any time soon. :-).

      1. Mark Stewart

        That’s like asking on what days I beat my wife, Kathryn. I can only loose on this – unless it was, in fact, the top image that’s the Rothko.

        But I am just guessing here. It could be both or neither as well…

  3. Ralph Hightower

    Okay, I am going to report ADCO for “Insider Painting”

    But, don’t invite me to ADCO’s “Jackson Pollock” party.

  4. Scout

    My guess would be the top one is the real one. My Uncle is an architect who had a dachshund named Rothko, who was one very spoiled dog. I need to recalibrate my brain so that Rothko evokes for me the proper connection. This will be a start.

  5. Steven Davis II

    Is it really “art” when an art student can complete their final project 10 minutes before it’s to be turned in?

    The same “art” can be created by telling a kindergarten class that you’re going to draw colored circles, you colored triangles and you colored rectangles. Anyone who sees more than that in either of these picture is likely to just be experiencing LSD flashbacks from the 1960’s.

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    Hey, y’all — since I just told people over on the ADCO blog, I’ll tell y’all… Everybody got it right except Kathryn, and she was right about it being sort of a “double-fake.”

    The top one is Rothko, the bottom one is ADCO. Lora Prill, to be exact. It sits on the mantle in her office.

    The Rothko is this untitled work from 1948.

    We threw you a little bit of a curve there. Lora’s painting is inspired by this iconic Rothko work, which is very much what people picture when they think of this artist.

    The real Rothko above is a little messier looking — a lot of “coloring outside the lines” — but that’s more characteristic of his work that a lot of people might realize. And it would be quite at home in the latter part of the exhibit at the Columbia museum. (The earlier stuff doesn’t look like any of this.)

    Thanks for playing! Sorry I don’t have a lovely parting gift for any of you…

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