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Book Recommendation: Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour, 1950 to Today

January 21, 2011


I have been enjoying this book immensely!  Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour, 1950 to Today [2008] edited by Ann Temin is showcases forty-four artists from a show jointly held between MoMA NYC and Tate in the UK.  The emphasis is on the shift from the traditional color wheel, past symbolism of colors and concepts of emotional meaning assigned to color to the current use of color as it is being produced in standardized, industrial and commercial applications.  From the Modern period to current times, manufacturers have offered a wider and wider selection of colors which have been adopted by artists and have influenced the work of artists. Essays from curators of the show describe the art historical significance of this shift away from traditional color theory and how mass manufacturing drove use of manufactured colors among artists.  Shorter essays describe each artist’s handling of color and how they formed their relationships to using color in the new context created by standardized, mass produced color.  From various sources, including house paints, car paint, paper and fabrics, artists from 1950 to present have been awash in ready-made color in increasing quantity from more and more sources.  This is an excellent guide to living artists working today as well as an art history text covering the most recent influences in art history and current living artists.  It gave me greater insight into the work of artists included in the book and an excellent oversight of the elements that shaped their work.

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