Awash in Color


Color Chart at MoMA: Donald Judd in the sixth-floor atrium

At Metaphor Contemporary, Brooklyn: Detail from Gabriele Evertz painting in Spectrum, up now


New York is awash in color. Non-objective color. Grid-based color. Color fields. Geometric color. Sculptural color. Maybe it’s the gray economy. Maybe it’s just something in the Zeitgeist. Whatever the reason, these days it’s all about hue.

Just to cover the historical end of the spectrum, there are two big museum shows: Color as Field Field: American Painting, 1950-1975 at the Smithsonian, the first full show dedicated to the color field movement (OK, so the show's not in New York, but it's full of New Yorkers); and Color Chart: Reinventing Color from 1950 to Today at MoMA. Both are examinations of color from a certain time and place, which means that with just a few exceptions they were focused on male (chauvinist) pigment.

I saw Color Chart and reported on it. I have not seen Color as Field, but I bought the catalog and it's every bit as retinally stimulating as I had hoped. The show is in D.C. through the 26th and then goes to Nashville for the summer.


Here, the only woman in Color as Field: Helen Frankenthaler, Flood, 1967, syntheric polymer on canvas, 124 x 140 inches. Image from the Internet

In Color Chart: Gerhard Richter, left. Ten Large Color Panels, 1966–71/72, lacquer on white primed canvas; 10 panels, each 98 7/16 x 37 3/8 inches.

Sherrie Levine, right. Salubra #4, 2007, oil on mahogany; 14 parts, each 27 x 24 inches

In Color Chart: Jennifer Bartlett. Equivalents, 1970, enamel over grid silkscreened onto baked enamel on steel plates, 116 x 25 inches. These three images from the MoMA website

Fortunately the gender spectrum is broader once you get outside the museum walls. A recent post (Painting: Linearity, Angularity, Materiality, Color) and series ( On the Geometric Trail ), both on this blog, cover a broad swath of color this year. And there's a ton of it in Chelsea right now.

As for the achromatic spectrum, Jasper Johns had Gray at the Met; Christopher K. Ho went gray at Winkleman Gallery; Valerie Jaudon had geometrically patterned white at Von Lintel Gallery.

Jasper Johns: Gray, at the Met: The Dutch Wives, 1975, encaustic and collage on canvas, two panels overall, 51.75 x 71 inches

At the Winkleman Gallery, January 10-February 9: Christopher K. Ho, room-size installation with figure

Valerie Jaudon at Von Lintel, March 6-April 12: Installation view. Image from the gallery website


But enough looking back. I'm going to post sequentially--with this post as the first one, to retain the narrative.

Meanwhile, since you're on line you might do a little color surfing. Stop in at Minus Space, a site maintained by Matthew Deleget and Rossana Martinez, where you’ll find reductive color in astonishing variety; Geoform, a cyber collection of geometric abstraction, curated by Julie Karabenick; and Color Chunks, John Tallman's utterly quirky view of slab, blocks, chunks and pieces of color, plus his own related work.


No comments: