Colour Bind at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is an exhibition that looks at how the colours black and white are used in contemporary art both formally and politically. Openly an exhibition that does not discuss black and white photography explicitly, despite the title prompting it, the exhibition looks specifically at formal considerations are often rooted in social issues which giver perhaps a fresh approach to looking at photography.
Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (We construct the chorus of missing persons), 1983, particularly stood out to me in this exhibition revolving around colour. Admittedly, the exhibition is riddled with colour, nonetheless, there is no denying the fact that the bold red frame of Kruger’s piece was unique in the punch that it’s alterior colour produced. The piece consists of a black and white photograph with text that is split into three sections that are placed back together having been framed in bright red frames. These colour choices are evidence of Kruger’s ongoing dialogue on advertizing. Red being an infamously attention grabbing colour. Kruger’s art frequently calls attention to the imbalance of power relations, especially between men and women. This can be seen in this example since the individual’s identity is hidden from view and the person is chopped into fragmentary parts. The choice of plack and white for the portrait of the woman also reduced the likelikhood of being able to identify due to the fact it makes features e.g. haircolour unreadable. The person could stand for almost anyone.
Another work I found particularly interesting in regards to colour was owardena Pindell’s collage Rambo Real Estate: Homelessness that poignantly comments on social and economic challenges. This work that consits of a collage that was originally made of text-black font on white paper- however, the paper has aged to become a rich yellow colour. This exposes the vulnerability of the artwork and adds to the notion of nostalgia brought up by the childlike ‘home’ shape of the collage itself. It also questions the notion of things being ‘set in black and white”. Whilst so often tarnished paper with black text could still be read as the traditional “written in black and white” in relation to the stark white walls of the gallery space the paper’s true colour is exposed and placed in a position for critique.
Silmilarly the piece Untitled, 2001, by Gary Simmons addressses through formal means the social implications of the white cube space. The piece is a sculpture made up of various objects piled together, all painted white cube white. All that is, apart from the yellowish wooden table that supports all that is towered ontop of it. Whilst all the objects merge and fit into the aesthetic of the gallery. The table stands out as foreign. To me the colour relativity warms the object, making it sing of the home and everything the gallery is not in that sense.