Consider the perceptive, emotive, and artistic resonance of “blue.”
Blue is a color in nature and art, a genre of music, and a mood. It is associated with distance, serenity, intelligence, and sadness. “Into the Blue” asks us to consider the multi-dimensional resonance of blue from the art historical to the neurobiological. How is our experience of Blue, common and disparate? Does our perception change depending on its presentation? Why do we call it the Blues?
Presented by the Smart Museum of Art in collaboration with the Arts, Science + Culture Initiative and Logan Center for the Arts, this program begins with a close looking exercise within the “blue room” of the exhibition Monochrome Multitudes. Afterward, University of Chicago faculty share disciplinary perspectives of the color blue through the lens of art history, neurobiology, and anthropology. The evening concludes with a live performance from Lead Museum Educator and Blues singer Katherine Davis.
- 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.