Whitney Museum Opens New Exhibit Focused On The Use of Vivid Colors in the 1960’s

‘Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s’, the Whitney’s Newest Exhibit Works to Place Emphasis on the Stylization of the 60’s.

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Tobias Dohlin

Alvin Loving, Septahedron 34 (1970), featured in the Whitney’s exhibit ‘Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960’s.’

Through a historic lens, art connoisseurs tend to focus on art from the Renaissance, Romantic, and other, more conventional eras. On March 29th, 2019, however, The Whitney Museum rewrote this narrative by finally unearthing its exhibit, ‘Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960’s.’ Drawn entirely from the Whitney’s collection, this exhibition gathers paintings from the 1960s and early 1970s that inventively use bold, saturated and even hallucinatory color to activate perception and induce an effect evocative of that era. Featuring artists such as Emma Amos, Kay WalkingStick, Alvin Loving, Ellsworth Kelly, Miriam Schapiro and Frank Stella, each room is chock-full of unequivocal talent and creative passion.

“I was totally hypnotized and inspired by the inventive use of color in the exhibit. Despite the lack of any straightforward political statements in the artwork, it was very clear that each piece was indicative of the time, including a fair amount of abstract counterculture and anti-war propaganda,” Chris Golub ’19 said.

Many of the pieces on display were heavily abstract. Whether it was a hexagonal canvas or a rolled up curtain doused in paint, one thing was an undeniable mainstay: color. It was clear from the beginning that whatever was to be achieved through the artwork, be it a political statement, a hallucinatory effect or a jab at the conventions of art, color was paramount as the driving force.

“I was totally hypnotized and inspired by the inventive use of color in the exhibit. Despite the lack of any straightforward political statements in the artwork, it was very clear that each piece was indicative of the time, including a fair amount of abstract counterculture and anti-war propaganda. By being able to look at this totally understated era of art objectively, I was able to see the way in which color was used as a vehicle to transcend artistic norms of the time and express oneself,” said Chris Golub ‘19.

A must-see for everyone, the exhibit is only open until August 2019. It is the ability of each painting to be both taciturn, reserved and obscure and yet still seem to swallow up the whole room with importance that is the point of utmost entrancement. Add the intense visual stimulation of each piece, and ‘Spilling Over,’ is an exhibit that is more than worth the visit.

 

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