Color is the focus of this Film Studies Center program; or, more correctly, monochromatic color and the diverse ways that eleven different artists have used either a single color exclusively or various colors one at a time.
The always-playful Émile Cohl’s Le Peintre Neo-Impressioniste (1910) combines live action and his trademark animation to “illustrate” the single-hued subjects of a modernist painter. Yves Klein’s Bas Relief in a Forest of Sponges (1959) moves beyond simple documentation of one of his blue-dominant installation works. Joyce Wieland’s Hand Tinting (1967) transforms footage from a Jobs Corps documentary through her editing and the coloring of the footage through the titular process. Paul Sharits’ aggressive color field flicker film T, O, U, C, H, I, N, G (1968) intercuts single color frames and images of a man about to cut off his tongue. Hollis Frampton foregrounds yellow in his wry “still life” Lemon (1969), and dn rodowick answers with an orange in Pyramid (2016). Pierre Rovere’s cameraless structural film Red Light (1975) presents patterns of red, then blue, dots. Several recent artists continuing the creative exploration of monochromatic possibilities include Fred Worden (Plotting the Grey Scale: 2 or 3 Quick Traverses, 1986), Maida Barbour (Linda M. Montano’s Seven Years of Living Art, 1994), Jeanne Liotta (Loretta, 2003), and Simon Payne (New Ratio, 2007).
FREE, open to the public. Doors open a half-hour before the top of the show. Seating is limited and offered on a first come-first served basis unless otherwise noted. Please call for information or assistance.
Co-curated by Patrick Friel and Mike Phillips. (1910–2016, various countries, 76 min., digital video, 35mm, and 16mm)
- Michael Dietler, Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences in the College
- Peggy Mason, Professor of Neurobiology
- Katherine Davis, Lead Museum Educator, Smart Museum of Art
- Moderated by Juelle Daley, Assistant Director of University Arts Engagement, Logan Center for the Arts
This exhibition traces “the monochrome” as a fundamental if surprisingly expansive artistic practice. Revisiting classic modernist ideas about flatness, idealized form, and colors, Monochrome Multitudes opens up this seemingly reductive art to reveal its global resonance and creative possibilities while working toward a more expansive narrative of 20th and 21st century art.
Within the exhibition, art is presented in monochromatic groupings—rooms of blue, white, yellow, gray, black, and red works respectively—alternating with thematic sections where single colors engage concerns with the body, urban space, sound, and other topics. Switching between these two types of spaces, the exhibition suggests that works that look alike are often quite different, and that works that look different can share historical, thematic, or conceptual propositions. Throughout, Monochrome Multitudes engages North American art in a global dialogue and emphasizes the significance of multiple media ranging from weaving to wall-painting to video, and multiple materials including footballs, pantyhose, and Vinylite.
Monochrome Multitudes features works by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Mary Abbott, Josef Albers, Alphonse Allais, Lynda Benglis, Ernő Berda, Mark Bradford, Alexander Calder, Enrico Castellani, Alan Cohen, Bethany Collins, Barbara Crane, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jaime Davidovich, Walter De Maria, José de Rivera, Roy DeCarava, Beauford Delaney, Laddie John Dill, Charles and Ray Eames, Lucio Fontana, Helen Frankenthaler, Theaster Gates, Frank Gehry, Felix Gonzales-Torres, Wade Guyton, Irena Haiduk, David Hartt, Arturo Herrera, Carmen Herrera, Sheila Hicks, Jörg Immendorff, Lotte Jacobi, Derek Jarman, Rashid Johnson, Jennie C. Jones, Samuel Levi Jones, Ellsworth Kelly, Byron Kim, Lyman Kipp, Yves Klein, Yayoi Kusama, Tadaaki Kuwayama, Kwon Young-woo, Lee Ufan, Marilyn Lenkowsky, Ma Qiusha, Sally Mann, Allan McCollum, Manfred Mohr, Linda Montano, Mun Pyung, Louise Nevelson, Barnett Newman, Jules Olitski, Palermo, Palermo & Gerhard Richter, Dan Peterman, Francis Picabia, John Plumb, Avery Preesman, Tobias Rehberger, Ad Reinhardt, Dorothea Rockburne, Ugo Rondinone, Robert Ryman, Fred Sandback, Joe Scanlan, David Schutter, Richard Serra, F.N. Souza, Ted Stamm, Jessica Stockholder, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Hiroyuki Tajima, Tony Tasset, Anne Truitt, Naama Tsabar, William Turnbull, James Turrell, Raoul Ubac, Günther Uecker, Günter Umberg, Wolf Vostell, H. C. Westermann, Amanda Williams, Karl Wirsum, Haegue Yang, Yang Jiechang, and Claire Zeisler.
Monochrome Multitudes is part of the Smart Museum’s ongoing “Expanding Narratives” series that mobilizes collection installations to reevaluate canonic histories and curatorial strategies. The majority of the approximately 120 works on display are drawn from the Smart Museum’s collection. They are supplemented by a number of loans from UChicago alumni, Chicago-area collections, and beyond.
Image: Claire Zeisler, Triptych, 1967, Knotted and tied dyed wool. Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joel Starrels, Sr., 1973.213a-c.