Writings on color from modernism to the present, by writers from Baudelaire to Baudrillard, surveying art from Paul Gauguin to Rachel Whiteread.
Whether it is scooped up off the palette, deployed as propaganda, or opens the doors of perception, color is central to art not only as an element but as an idea. This unique anthology reflects on the aesthetic, cultural, and philosophical meaning of color through the writings of artists and critics, placed within the broader context of anthropology, film, philosophy, literature, and science. Those who loathe color have had as much to say as those who love it. This chronology of writings from Baudelaire to Baudrillard traces how artists have affirmed color as a space of pure sensation, embraced it as a tool of revolution or denounced it as decorative and even decadent. It establishes color as a central theme in the story of modern and contemporary art and provides a fascinating handbook to the definitions and debates around its history, meaning, and use.
Artists surveyed include: Joseph Albers, Mel Bochner, Daniel Buren, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Jimmie Durham, Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Gauguin, Donald Judd, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Yves Klein, Kazimir Malevich, Piero Manzoni, Henri Matisse, Henri Michaux, Beatriz Milhazes, Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Hélio Oiticica, Paul Signac, Ad Reinhardt, Gerhard Richter, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Bridget Riley, Mark Rothko, Yinka Shonibare, Jessica Stockholder, Theo van Doesburg, Vincent van Gogh, Victor Vasarely, Rachel Whiteread
Writers include: Theodor Adorno, Roland Barthes, Charles Baudelaire, Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, Charles Blanc, Jacques Derrida, Thierry de Duve, Umberto Eco, Victoria Finlay, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Johannes Itten, Julia Kristeva, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jacqueline Lichtenstein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, John Ruskin, Adrian Stokes, Ludwig Wittgenstein
David Batchelor is an artist and writer who has exhibited widely in Europe and America. Senior Tutor in Critical Theory in the Department of Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London, he is a frequent contributor to such journals as Artforum and Frieze and the author of Minimalism and Chromophobia.
In this remarkably imaginative collection of texts and fragments, David Batchelor has mined modern culture to extract deep seams of colour-thought. Like any great collection of things, it draws together the widest range of sources from Melville to Matisse to Wittgenstein to Johnny Cash to completely transform the way we think about how colour works in art and beyond.
Briony Fer, Professor of History of Art, University College London