Color Chart

The Museum of Modern Art‘s current exhibition is a chromatic extravaganza. Color Chart includes an impressive span of artists, from ready-made deity Marcel Duchamp to young digital artist Cory Arcangel. Ann Temkin, who was appointed Department of Painting and Sculpture Curator at MoMA in 2003, is a curator with a penchant for early appropriation artists and seductive, culturally resonant mark-making. Temkin organized Color Chart, trying to capture the mass-produced, systematic, arbitrary and indulgent role color played in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Duchamp and Warhol set the tone for the exhibition. Both artists took color out of the realm of spirituality and borrowed their hues from consumer culture and mass production. Ellsworth Kelly‘s straightforward color charts give the exhibition its name. Yet, while Color Chart certainly emphasizes the down-to-earth characteristics of color, it doesn’t exclude natural, organic hues. Ed Ruscha‘s stains speak to the arbitrary nature of color – we don’t necessarily have control over the shades of a thumb print or the way coffee yellows the table cloth. John Baldessari‘s Six Colorful Inside Jobs, on the other hand, has everything to do with the ways in which people control color. Carrie Mae Weems, on of the few women in the show, addresses color’s relationship to race and adding a much needed consciousness to and exhibit that spans so many centuries.. The exhibition continues through May 12.

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