On Friday morning, security at the Rothko Chapel in Houston surveyed the grounds and found what the director of the world-class Texas institution, founded by the collectors John and Dominique de Menil, called a “hate incident.” Security discovered white paint near the entrance of the chapel, along with handbills that said “It’s okay to be white” scattered around the octagonal space, and the Barnett Newman sculpture installed in front of it.
David Leslie, the director, told
the Houston Chronicle
that rather than hide the hateful act from visitors while the paint was being cleaned up, the docents were open with museumgoers in a way that could continue to honor Martin Luther King, Jr, to whom Newman dedicated
his sculpture The Broken Obelisk
(1963-1969). “We wanted to continue to engage with neighbors and visitors,” Leslie said. “Our first response was to get open again as quickly as possible and not allow something like this to mute our message, mute our accessibility.”