book report: colour after klein

i’m not sure if i’ll start doing regular book reports, but after seeing Andrew Frost‘s Fascination in (inside) on a Philip K Dick book, I realised that I don’t give much blog time to the books I like. I’m going to try and correct this a little by gushing over a new book that I bought accidentally on purpose from amazon.

Accidentally on purpose? Ok, just quickly: you may remember that I went to the NGV a few weeks’ ago. In the interminable mire of satanic temptation, otherwise knowns as the bookstore, I discovered a great book called Colour After Klein. My kind of book, filled with lovely stuff – pics of artists whose work i admire, words by some of the same bunch and all in a nice, large format that you can either keep precious, or scribble over and fill with post-it notes. And it was too expensive for me at the time. I vowed to save up my pennies and get it.

Then I snuck a quick peak on amazon on the day that it was announced that the exchange rate between the US and Australia had jumped to 0.92! With that exchange rate, it was going to cost me less than half the price from the NGV.
So i put it in my shopping cart, to see how much it would be with shipping.
It looked like a fab deal.
I pressed Confirm Order, just on the off-chance that my credit card might squeeze out a drop of blood, but fully expecting the polite amazon equivalent of ‘fuck off and earn some money before you bother me with that rubbish’.
What i got in return was ‘Your order has been processed and will be shipped as soon as possible’.

So, back to the book:

Anish Kapoor, 1000 Times

It’s based on a great exhibition from a couple of years ago at the Barbican in London (great gallery, bad 70s architecture that just manages to scrape into looking good), and is edited by Jane Alison, published by the fabulous Black Dog Publishing (where I would love to work, some day, please).

The subtitle, Re-thinking Colour in Modern and Contemporary Art is short, sharp and nicely to the point too!

The book features a whole swag of images/text and loveliness by some of my favourite artists:

Donald Judd
Yves Klein
Anish Kapoor
Sophie Calle
Louise Bourgeois
Helio Oiticica
Felix Gonzales-Torres
Mona Hartoum
Dan Flavin
and Joseph Beuys

It also features specific text by Yves Klein, Helio Oiticica, Nuit Banai and Donald Judd and the essay by Jane Alison, Colour Me In is fantastic, covering a variety of theoretical standpoints on colour, including structurally, psychoanalytically, scientifically and phenomenologically. She’s pulled out quotes from the big-guns: Wittgenstein, Newton, Kristeva, Merleau-Ponty, plus loads of quotes from the featured artists.

I’m already sticking post-its all over the pages and wrestling with the age-old question of whether I write in the book or try to preserve it. And I’m even taking it on the train with me and reading it in bed! I never do that with art books, they always stay stoically on my bookshelf, but this particular one is like some kind of personal jesus, or something.

On a formal note, the book has just the right amount of big glossy pics that make you want to dive right in, smaller pics that illustrate a point, and text. Given that I’ve seen some of the works up-close-and-personal, and that the reproduction of colour can be such a fucking farse, the print job is also fantastic. [Oh dear, it’s all over, I’m analysing the print reproduction of artworks and judging a book on it accordingly. Hmm]

This is the exactly the kind of publication that glossy art books need to be – the right amount of fetish and education, so that you can either just enjoy, look at the pretty pictures, or you can delve in, pore over it, learn some and get inspired. Well done to all concerned with this one.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

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