In Red: The History of a Color, historian and symbology expert Michel Pastoureau notes, “Red is the archetypal color, the first color humans mastered, fabricated, reproduced, and broke down into different shades.” Ochre, the earliest form of red, has been found in cave paintings around the world, and cinnabar was a central to the imperial imagery of Song China and the Roman Empire. Titian, Raphael, and other Renaissance painters famously utilized vermillion, however, it was first synthesized thousands of years before, in 4th century China and only spread west through the artists and chemists of the Umayyad Caliphate. Red is often seen as the color of warmth, heat, and passion but its associations are far more diverse. Mondrian’s use of red suggests order and harmony, in Lissitzky it is revolution and in Kapoor’s sculptures it signifies terrestrial bodies. Tracking this expanse of aesthetic and historical meaning, this show brings together a wide range of work, including figuration, abstraction, and conceptualism. These paintings, drawings, photographs, and mixed media works engage with but are not bound by the color’s historical connotations — they question identity and offer incisive political critique. The artists presented here make for a challenging, incisive, and altogether unexpected exhibition.
About the Juror:
Sara Reisman is the Executive Director and Artistic Director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, whose mission is to broaden artistic and cultural access in New York City and to promote more cohesive and sustainable communities, and greater participation in civic life. At the Rubin Foundation Sara curates exhibitions focused on social justice themes and is currently curating a series of exhibitions under the title Revolutionary Cycles, that examine artistic activism and other forms of cultural resistance. Prior to joining the Foundation, Sara was the Director of New York City’s Percent for Art program at the Department of Cultural Affairs, from 2008 to 2014, where she managed more than 100 public and civic commissions across the five boroughs. From 2008 to 2009, Sara was Curatorial Consultant for Public Art in support of the Queens Museum of Art’s community development initiative in Corona, Queens. Sara has curated exhibitions for the Queens Museum of Art, Socrates Sculpture Park, the Cooper Union School of Art, the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, Momenta Art, Smack Mellon and LaMaMa Galleria, among other venues.
Emmanuel Agwam, Jessica Alazraki, David Andersson, Martin Beck, Jan Blythe, Alexander Bostic, Domenica Bucalo, Diane Bush, Ellen Chuse, Fran DeRespinis, Mitch Eckert, Susan Fortgang, Leslie Fry, Margaret Garrett, Lindsay Godin, Lauren Gohara, Erin Juliana, Camilla Knutsen, Jessica Frances Grégoire Lancaster, Gabe Langholtz, Frantz Lexy, Kerry Mansfield, John Nativio, Christine O'Brien, Janet Orselli, Paula Praeger, Mark Sawrie, Marlene Siff, Alma Sinai, Stuart Skalka, Keith Thomson, Puck van Doorn, Jeff Wallace, Marguerite Wibaux