Imagine a history of art written only in pink. What would that look like? A list of artists, in no particular order, might include Pontormo, Louise Bourgeois, Gainsborough, Philip Guston, Janine Antoni, the Tiepolos, Chéri Samba, Cecily Brown, Genieve Figgis, Franz West, Charles Ray, Lorenzo Lotto, Catherine Opie, Paul Thek, Sue Williams, Giotto, De Kooning, Fragonard, Yves Klein, Vuillard, Sylvie Fleury, Marlene Dumas, Amalia Pica, Raphael, Paul McCarthy, Rose Wylie, Pipilotti Rist, Kerry James Marshall, Boucher, Bonnard, John McCracken, Roni Horn, Velázquez, Georg Herold, Shahzia Sikander, Hans Bellmer, Anne Truitt and Piero della Francesca, with the primary work of them all Dan Flavin’s pink out of a corner (to Jasper Johns) from 1963, a work consisting of a single fluorescent tube, placed in the corner of the room (slumped against the wall, even), which emits a pale pink light that is nonetheless strong enough to bathe a room and the people in it completely pink. Like the history of pink, that tube’s light is a fugitive thing, prone to flickering out dead and needing replacing. Like the colour itself, it’s neither one thing nor another, somewhere in the corner of the room, at the very edges of perception, its perpetual not-quite-there-ness lending itself ideally to the quixotic task of depicting or describing things that elude containment in words or paint.
Read the whole article in the autumn 2019 issue of OOF, available here.