Blue Black leads to Red and Yellow


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The New York Times had an article recently about the artist Glenn Ligon, who has curated an exhibition titled “Blue Black” at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis. The exhibition will feature 54 works by 42 artists, including Mr. Ligon himself, and will focus on the topic of “… power dynamics, spirituality and the blues as a state of mind.”

It was a trio of pictures from the exhibition that caught my attention, however – I thought it was an interesting selection of works to pair together (from left): Carrie Mae Weems, “Blue Black Boy,” (1997); Kerry James Marshall, “Untitled (policeman)” (2015); and Andy Warhol, “Liz #4” (1963). The common denominator of image colors is the obvious tie here, but the subject matter of these three images in particular could definitely open up a number of conversations about several topics.

Blue Black exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation

At this point, however, rather than dive deeper into the exhibition concept (since you can do that by reading the Times article), I wanted to have some fun from a curatorial standpoint. I like what Ligon has done by putting these three images together, and I wanted to see if I could play the role of virtual curator and come up with some interesting pairings in other colors.

Here’s a trio of red seated figures, from left: Otto Dix, “Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia von Harden,” (1926); Chaim Soutine, “Le Groom,” (1925); and Picasso’s “Saltimbanque Seated with Arms Crossed,”(1923).

paintings by Otto Dix, Chaim Soutine and Pablo Picasso

Here’s my yellow group, at top: Giorgio de Chirico, “The Dream Turns,” (1913); bottom left: Roy Lichtenstein, “Yellow Still Life,” (1974); and bottom right: Jan Davidsz De Heem, “Still Life with a wine glass, lemon peel, peaches, grapes and cherries on the corner of a partly draped wooden table,” (1643).

paintings by De Chirico, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jan Davidsz De Heem

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