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Review: ‘Red’

The first time I saw a Mark Rothko painting up close was at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. I liked it, though I’m pretty sure that half of my eagerness to approve was to be contrary about conventional art tastes. I’ve got a poster of one his paintings now, and the more I stare at it, the more calming I find it; it’s not just an aesthetically pleasing color swatch. But are his abstract expressionist paintings really art? This is one of the central questions of John Logan’s new play, “Red,” which introduces us to a fictitious version of Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz, the famous Jewish-American Abstract Expressionist painter.