JT Nimoy calculated that the average color of modern art is the Pantone color #A79F94. This worked out from 26,000 images from MoMA.
Ariel got these this month. Pretty great colorway.
There are particular pieces of the world which essentially serve the abstract (dominos, for instance, standing armies, monetary prose), and there are fragments of the mind which nevertheless pretend to be (like men of good will and the data of sense) residents in the realm of things. It is around these coins, twin-headed and treacherous, that the quarrel which concerns us has centered, for there is clearly a similar conflict between the way we customarily experience color and the way we have historically tended to think about it. This unnecessary antagonism is traditional: shall we believe our senses or our reason? And reason is so swift to slander the senses that even Hume did not escape, replacing shadow, mood and music, iris and jay, with a scatter of sense impressions artificial as buttons: each distinct, inert, each intense, each in self-absorbed sufficiency and narrowly circumscribed disorder like a fistfull of jelly beans tossed among orphans or an army of ants in frightened retreat.
The blunt truth is that if the sky’s not blue, the sea, the serge suit, the chicory, the blue goose; if they’re not blue, then, like our ears and nose and tongue and fingers, our eyes have lied, and although on occasion the truth may be beaten from them, they cannot be standard; they have soiled consciousness too continuously; they cannot be trusted. If, on the other hand, we begin with what we’re given, then what about all those advisers who have whispered persuasive nonsense in our ears from the beginning? don’t believe what you hear—the violin, the wind—believe me; others feel differently, in other ages, different climes; even yourself—on grayer days, at greater distances, in sickness, out of madness, during dream—distort—from pique, from spite, from wine; remember the shadows which threatened you like a thief? the friend you greeted like a stranger? the lap dog’s bite? the lips which claimed to be so sweet? so don’t believe the rainbow or the oil, but believe the lines the mind conceives connect the spill and bow to you; believe in the weights of spaces and the rush of quantity through the void. Well? what to do? For their treachery, for the buttered sound of their sophistries, shall we confine them to the tower?
|—||William Gass — On Being Blue: A Philosophical Inquiry (via index-rerum)|
“The 3,000-plus known nudibranch species, it turns out, are well equipped to defend themselves. Not only can they be tough-skinned, bumpy, and abrasive, but they’ve also traded the family shell for less burdensome weaponry: toxic secretions and stinging cells. A few make their own poisons, but most pilfer from the foods they eat. Species that dine on toxic sponges, for example, alter and store the irritating compounds in their bodies and secrete them from skin cells or glands when disturbed. Other nudibranchs hoard capsules of tightly coiled stingers, called nematocysts, ingested from fire corals, anemones, and hydroids. Immune to the sting, the slugs deploy the stolen artillery along their own extremities.”
It may not be out of place to note here the difference between gray as spelt with an a, and grey as spelt with an e, the two names being occasionally confounded.
GRAY is a semi-neutral, and denotes a class of cool cinereous colours, faint of hue; whence we have blue grays, olive grays, green grays, purple grays, and grays of all hues in which blue predominates; but no yellow or red grays, the predominance of such hues carrying the compounds into a the classes of brown and marone [maroon], of which gray is the natural opposite.
GREY is neutral, and composed of or can be resolved into black and white alone, from a mixture of which two colours it springs in an infinite series.
Field’s Chromatography (1856) is blowing my mind.
The fine language and discussion of color in this book is almost magical. It’s like a spell book for wielding hues and tints; something that must have been a magical talent in the mid 19th century. Field’s evokes a way of seeing the world and its color in a time before omnipresent photography, digital displays, and ink-jet printing. To communicate color you needed both spellings of grey and evokative words like “cinereous” (an ashy gray, similar Latin root to ‘cinders’).
At times Field’s discusses pigments like they’re new technology (which they essentially are at that time). Something that holds yellow in a fixed way allows new subjects to be communicated. Subjects which paintings could never previously present. Passages like these, for someone whom never imagines a hue out of reach, are spellbinding.