Jan 18th 2018

SIDEBAR welcomes art historian and professor Darby English (Art History, University of Chicago) and Chicago based artist and educator Matthew Metzger (University of Illinois at Chicago) to the Gray Center Lab for a conversation on how optical, political, physical and historical contingencies impact the ways in which we perceive and understand color.

Investigations of color feature heavily in the work of English and Metzger. 1971: A Year in the Life of Color by Darby English (published in 2016 by University of Chicago Press) looks closely at two exhibitions from 1971 that illuminate the complex relationship between race and abstraction in painting. In addition to the role color plays in his own practice as a painter, Matthew Metzger recently published an essay that addressing color’s necessary corellation with surface.

SIDEBAR is an ongoing conversation series organized by the Gray Center. Join us at 6:00pm for food and drinks as we settle into an evening of productive engagement with our invited guests.

Darby English’s research probes art’s interaction with instituted forms of historical subjectivity and experience. Recent research has focused on artistic and other cultural manifestations of optimism, discomposure, and interculture. More theoretical formulations of English’s work examine the difficulty of studying the foregoing themes at once as historical objects in themselves and negotiating their implications as sources of anxiety about historical change. English is the author of 1971: A Year in the Life of Color (University of Chicago Press, 2016), and How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (MIT Press, 2007). A new monograph, To Describe a Life: Essays at the Intersection of Art and Race Terror will be published by Yale University Press in 2018. This book synthesizes material first presented as the Richard D. Cohen Lectures at Harvard University in November 2016. Current projects include a small book on discomposure; monographic essays on the art of Rachel Harrison, Zoe Leonard, and Silke Otto-Knapp; and, a collection volume entitled Among Others: Blackness at MoMA. English also serves as Adjunct Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Matthew Metzger is an artist and educator in Chicago. He received his MFA from The University of Chicago and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Residency Program both in 2009. Metzger is Assistant Professor of Studio Art and The Director of Graduate Studies at The University of Illinois at Chicago. His most recent solo exhibitions include Regards, Chicago; Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; and Arratia Beer, Berlin. Recent and forthcoming group exhibitions include Retrogarde, Logan Center Exhibitions, Chicago; The Freedom Principle, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and The Works, CAB Art Center, Brussels.

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