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Since the cave paintings of Lascaux, the color red has played a starring role in the story of art history. Through the centuries, it has conjured emotions such as love, lust, and rage, and served as a symbol of wealth, war, revolution, and religious sacrifice. Red is one of the most powerful tools in an artist’s color arsenal. Its presence ensures bold visual impact and guarantees our immediate attention. Mnuchin Gallery is thus delighted to present Reds, an exhibition offering a focused look at artists’ use of red over sixty years, from the postwar period to the present day. The exhibition will include paintings and sculpture by twenty-five artists, including Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, and Mark Rothko, to name a few. The exhibition will be on view from April 27 through June 9, 2018.

For thousands of years red has been prized for its striking effect. Historically, its value stemmed from the sheer difficulty of obtaining the color itself, as only a few species of insects and plants produced it. A popular extraction method involved drying the cochineal bug, and since 70,000 insects were required for a single pound of pigment a highly competitive system of piracy developed among European countries bringing it from the New World.  Its scarcity made it a luxury reserved for the only the wealthiest. Despite its availability today, red remains a color used to demarcate and distinguish objects of note.

This exhibition traces the myriad ways artists have harnessed red’s force across abstraction and figuration, painting and sculpture, to achieve remarkable proof of the color’s universal resonance. In paintings by Bacon, Bourgeois, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol, in which human figures or faces appear against intensely red backdrops, the color evokes narratives of love, violence, and tragedy for the paintings’ subjects. Other artists use the color to create immersive, meditative experiences for the viewer, whether by bathing him in red light, as in Dan Flavin’s Untitled (to Sabine and Holger), 1966-71, or by confronting him with an immense red void, as in Robert Motherwell’s Open No. 153: In Scarlet with White Line, 1970. In works such as Arshile Gorky’s Agony, 1947, and Yayoi Kusama’s No. Red A 1960, 1960, the artists’ use of red can be interpreted as an expression of their individual psychological experiences, whereas Franz Kline and Rothko’s monumental abstractions speak to a more universal “scale of human feeling, the human drama.”   Eliminating such gesture and expression from painting, Josef Albers and Ad Reinhardt pair subtle, almost imperceptibly varied shades of red to create conceptual studies on color itself.

Reds comprises twenty-seven masterworks on loan from museums, foundations, and private collections. It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue authored by Clayton Press.

Installations

Installations Thumbnails
Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Photography by Tom Powel Imaging, Inc.

Press Release - OLD

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails
Louise Bourgeois Red Night

Louise Bourgeois
Red Night
1946-48
oil on linen
30 x 60 inches (76.2 x 152.4 cm)
The George Economou Collection

Arshile Gorky Agony

Arshile Gorky
Agony
1947
oil on canvas
40 x 50 1/2 inches (101.6 x 128.3 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
A. Conger Goodyear Fund, 1950

Alexander Calder Untitled

Alexander Calder
Untitled
c. 1952
sheet metal, wire, and paint
58 x 71 inches (147.3 x 180.3 cm)
Calder Foundation, New York

Alexander Calder Sumac VI

Alexander Calder
Sumac VI
1952
sheet metal, wire, and paint
47 1/2 x 45 x 20 inches (120.7 x 114.3 x 50.8 cm)
Private collection

Ad Reinhardt Abstract Painting, Red

Ad Reinhardt
Abstract Painting, Red
1953
oil on canvas in artist's frame
canvas: 30 1/8 x 30 in. (76.5 x 76.2 cm)
frame: 32 ¼ x 32 in. (81.9 x 81.2 cm)
Private collection

Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning
Composition
1955
oil, enamel, and charcoal on canvas
79 1/8 x 69 1/8 inches (201 x 175.6 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Mark Rothko Browns and Blacks in Reds

Mark Rothko
Browns and Blacks in Reds
1957
oil on canvas
91 x 60 inches (231.1 x 152.4 cm)
Private collection

Kazuo Shiraga Untitled 

Kazuo Shiraga
Untitled 
1959
oil on canvas
71 3/4 x 107 inches (182.2 x 271.8 cm)
Private collection

Yayoi Kusama No. Red A 1960

Yayoi Kusama
No. Red A 1960
1960
oil on canvas
71 x 63 in. (180.3 x 160 cm)
Grey Art Gallery
New York University Art Collection
Gift of Silvia Pizitz

Donald Judd Untitled

Donald Judd
Untitled
1961
acrylic and sand on Masonite
48 x 60 inches (121.9 x 152.4 cm)
The George Economou Collection

Franz Kline Red Painting

Franz Kline
Red Painting
1961
oil on canvas
109 13/16 x 78 1/8 inches (278.9 x 198.4 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Gift of the American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, President

Andy Warhol Red Elvis

Andy Warhol
Red Elvis
1962
silkscreen ink and acrylic on canvas
69 3/4 x 52 inches (177.2 x 132.1 cm)
Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT

Dan Flavin untitled (to Sabine and Holger)

Dan Flavin
untitled (to Sabine and Holger)
1966-71
red fluorescent light
96 x 96 x 5 inches (243.8 x 243.8 x 12.7 cm)
Private collection

Josef Albers Study for Homage to the Square

Josef Albers
Study for Homage to the Square
1967
oil on masonite
24 x 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)
Private collection

Robert Motherwell Open No. 153: In Scarlet with White Line

Robert Motherwell
Open No. 153: In Scarlet with White Line
1970
acrylic on canvas
86 1/2 x 149 inches (219.7 x 378.46 cm)
Private collection

Francis Bacon Study of George Dyer

Francis Bacon
Study of George Dyer
1971
oil on canvas
78 x 58 inches (198.1 x 147.3 cm)
Private collection

Ellsworth Kelly Chatham X: Black Red

Ellsworth Kelly
Chatham X: Black Red
1971
oil on canvas
108 x 95 3/4 inches (274.3 x 243.2 cm)
Private collection

John Chamberlain Funn

John Chamberlain
Funn
1978
painted and chromium-plated steel
80 x 41 x 21 inches (203.2 x 104.1 x 53.3 cm)
Private collection

Jean-Michel Basquiat The Ring

Jean-Michel Basquiat
The Ring
1981
oil and oil stick on canvas
60 x 48 inches (152.4 x 121.9 cm)
Private collection

Cady Noland Bluewald

Cady Noland
Bluewald
1989
screenprint on aluminum with printed cotton flag
72 x 33 1/2 x 35 1/2 inches (182.9 x 85.1 x 90.2 cm)
Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT

Glenn Ligon Deferred (Malcolm / Martin)

Glenn Ligon
Deferred (Malcolm / Martin)
1991
oil and acrylic on canvas
31 x 20 3/4 inches (78.7 x 52.7 cm)
Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT

Christopher Wool Untitled

Christopher Wool
Untitled
1993
enamel on aluminum
43 x 30 inches (109.2 x 76.2 cm)
Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT

Mark Grotjahn Untitled (Red Butterfly Over Lime Green)

Mark Grotjahn
Untitled (Red Butterfly Over Lime Green)
2002
oil on linen
50 x 19 inches (127 x 48.3 cm)
Private collection

Jeff Koons Lobster

Jeff Koons
Lobster
2003
polychromed aluminum, coated steel chain
57 7/8 x 37 x 17 1/8 inches (147 x 94 x 43.5 cm)
Collection of the artist

Cy Twombly Untitled

Cy Twombly
Untitled
2006
acrylic on canvas
84 5/8 x 66 1/8 inches (214.9 x 168 cm)
Private collection

Louise Bourgeois Red Night

Louise Bourgeois
Red Night
1946-48
oil on linen
30 x 60 inches (76.2 x 152.4 cm)
The George Economou Collection

Arshile Gorky Agony

Arshile Gorky
Agony
1947
oil on canvas
40 x 50 1/2 inches (101.6 x 128.3 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
A. Conger Goodyear Fund, 1950

Alexander Calder Untitled

Alexander Calder
Untitled
c. 1952
sheet metal, wire, and paint
58 x 71 inches (147.3 x 180.3 cm)
Calder Foundation, New York

Alexander Calder Sumac VI

Alexander Calder
Sumac VI
1952
sheet metal, wire, and paint
47 1/2 x 45 x 20 inches (120.7 x 114.3 x 50.8 cm)
Private collection

Ad Reinhardt Abstract Painting, Red

Ad Reinhardt
Abstract Painting, Red
1953
oil on canvas in artist's frame
canvas: 30 1/8 x 30 in. (76.5 x 76.2 cm)
frame: 32 ¼ x 32 in. (81.9 x 81.2 cm)
Private collection

Willem de Kooning

Willem de Kooning
Composition
1955
oil, enamel, and charcoal on canvas
79 1/8 x 69 1/8 inches (201 x 175.6 cm)
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Mark Rothko Browns and Blacks in Reds

Mark Rothko
Browns and Blacks in Reds
1957
oil on canvas
91 x 60 inches (231.1 x 152.4 cm)
Private collection

Kazuo Shiraga Untitled 

Kazuo Shiraga
Untitled 
1959
oil on canvas
71 3/4 x 107 inches (182.2 x 271.8 cm)
Private collection

Yayoi Kusama No. Red A 1960

Yayoi Kusama
No. Red A 1960
1960
oil on canvas
71 x 63 in. (180.3 x 160 cm)
Grey Art Gallery
New York University Art Collection
Gift of Silvia Pizitz

Donald Judd Untitled

Donald Judd
Untitled
1961
acrylic and sand on Masonite
48 x 60 inches (121.9 x 152.4 cm)
The George Economou Collection

Franz Kline Red Painting

Franz Kline
Red Painting
1961
oil on canvas
109 13/16 x 78 1/8 inches (278.9 x 198.4 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Gift of the American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, President

Andy Warhol Red Elvis

Andy Warhol
Red Elvis
1962
silkscreen ink and acrylic on canvas
69 3/4 x 52 inches (177.2 x 132.1 cm)
Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT

Dan Flavin untitled (to Sabine and Holger)

Dan Flavin
untitled (to Sabine and Holger)
1966-71
red fluorescent light
96 x 96 x 5 inches (243.8 x 243.8 x 12.7 cm)
Private collection

Josef Albers Study for Homage to the Square

Josef Albers
Study for Homage to the Square
1967
oil on masonite
24 x 24 inches (61 x 61 cm)
Private collection

Robert Motherwell Open No. 153: In Scarlet with White Line

Robert Motherwell
Open No. 153: In Scarlet with White Line
1970
acrylic on canvas
86 1/2 x 149 inches (219.7 x 378.46 cm)
Private collection

Francis Bacon Study of George Dyer

Francis Bacon
Study of George Dyer
1971
oil on canvas
78 x 58 inches (198.1 x 147.3 cm)
Private collection

Ellsworth Kelly Chatham X: Black Red

Ellsworth Kelly
Chatham X: Black Red
1971
oil on canvas
108 x 95 3/4 inches (274.3 x 243.2 cm)
Private collection

John Chamberlain Funn

John Chamberlain
Funn
1978
painted and chromium-plated steel
80 x 41 x 21 inches (203.2 x 104.1 x 53.3 cm)
Private collection

Jean-Michel Basquiat The Ring

Jean-Michel Basquiat
The Ring
1981
oil and oil stick on canvas
60 x 48 inches (152.4 x 121.9 cm)
Private collection

Cady Noland Bluewald

Cady Noland
Bluewald
1989
screenprint on aluminum with printed cotton flag
72 x 33 1/2 x 35 1/2 inches (182.9 x 85.1 x 90.2 cm)
Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT

Glenn Ligon Deferred (Malcolm / Martin)

Glenn Ligon
Deferred (Malcolm / Martin)
1991
oil and acrylic on canvas
31 x 20 3/4 inches (78.7 x 52.7 cm)
Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT

Christopher Wool Untitled

Christopher Wool
Untitled
1993
enamel on aluminum
43 x 30 inches (109.2 x 76.2 cm)
Courtesy The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT

Mark Grotjahn Untitled (Red Butterfly Over Lime Green)

Mark Grotjahn
Untitled (Red Butterfly Over Lime Green)
2002
oil on linen
50 x 19 inches (127 x 48.3 cm)
Private collection

Jeff Koons Lobster

Jeff Koons
Lobster
2003
polychromed aluminum, coated steel chain
57 7/8 x 37 x 17 1/8 inches (147 x 94 x 43.5 cm)
Collection of the artist

Cy Twombly Untitled

Cy Twombly
Untitled
2006
acrylic on canvas
84 5/8 x 66 1/8 inches (214.9 x 168 cm)
Private collection

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