International Klein Blue

I have a new favorite color today. I want to somehow live in this color! I went to the Walker Art Center and their Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers. Yves Klein’s paintings were solely about color, they’re not abstract depictions of anything, but pure color. The color above is International Klein Blue, a color Klein developed. There are three galleries of his work at the Walker, and many of the rooms are solely about color. In my favorite room, it’s all this lovely, intense blue — large blue paintings in various sizes and textures, and the center of the room filled with a very large, shallow tray of pure loose pigment (I kept my hands firmly in my pockets). In the tray is a folding screen, in this blue. Suspended above the tray are long rods of this blue — rain. I wanted to sit on the wide steps above this gallery and just stay there. Pictures are not allowed, sorry.

I liked his fire paintings too — his nude models were covered with a fire retardant and then placed against a canvas. They step away, and then using essentially a flame thrower, he singed the canvases to reveal the “prints.” There were plenty of paintings in other colors too, including gold leaf. There was a smaller room adjacent to the blue room described above that you could see into from those same steps. It had many sizes and shapes of paintings in other colors. It was a beautiful view from those steps!

Klein was more than just these color field paintings. According to the Walker’s description: “An innovator who embraced painting, sculpture, performance, photography, music, theater, film, architecture, and theoretical writing, Klein was a precursor of many movements of the postwar avant-garde, including minimal art, conceptual art, land art, and performance art.” His art career was only 8 years long, from 1954-1962, when he died of a heart attack at the age of 34.

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