Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781861890740 Published September 2000 For sale in North and South America only

Chromophobia

David Batchelor

Chromophobia
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Distribution by the University of Chicago Press only to customers in the USA and Canada. Customers elsewhere should visit the UK website of Reaktion Books.

David Batchelor

Distributed for Reaktion Books

128 pages | 6 color plates | 5.75 x 8.25
Paper $19.95 ISBN: 9781861890740 Published September 2000 For sale in North and South America only
The central argument of Chromophobia is that a chromophobic impulse - a fear of corruption or contamination through color - lurks within much Western cultural and intellectual thought. This is apparent in the many and varied attempts to purge color, either by making it the property of some "foreign body" - the oriental, the feminine, the infantile, the vulgar, or the pathological - or by relegating it to the realm of the superficial, the supplementary, the inessential, or the cosmetic.

Chromophobia has been a cultural phenomenon since ancient Greek times; this book is concerned with forms of resistance to it. Writers have tended to look no further than the end of the nineteenth century. David Batchelor seeks to go beyond the limits of earlier studies, analyzing the motivations behind chromophobia and considering the work of writers and artists who have been prepared to look at color as a positive value. Exploring a wide range of imagery including Melville's "great white whale", Huxley's reflections on mescaline, and Le Corbusier's "journey to the East", Batchelor also discusses the use of color in Pop, Minimal, and more recent art.
Karen Rosenberg | New York Times
"A thorough and witty cultural history of color."
James Meyer | Artforum
"A provocative contribution to the discourse of color theory."
Dave Hickey | Bookforum
"Full of good writing, good anecdotes, devastating quotes, deft arguments, and just the sort of mysterious anomalies one would expect from an artist writing about the enemies of his practice."
RA (Royal Academy Magazine)
"This beautifully produced book is an intelligent and provocative essay on why Western culture hates and fears colour. The prose is cumulative and passionate in its effect and widely referential—from Barthes to Melville, Wim Wenders to Huysmans. . . . You cannot fail to be stimulated by his thoughts"
Tema Celeste
"Batchelor has found an irresistible selection of anecdotes and quotes relating to the experience of color. . . .  Thoughtful and entertaining."
Time Out London
"A hugely entertaining guide to our ongoing obsession with white."
iD Magazine
"Switching from novels and movies to art and architecture, Batchelor clearly and cleverly traces the cultural implications of the 100 year-plus Colour War between Chromophobes like Le Corbusier, with their hosannas to whiteness, and Chromophiliacs like Warhol, the great artist of cosmetics. A succinct book of art theory which goes down smoothly."
New Art Examiner
"A theoretical and cultural banquet. . . . The book's narrative quality goes beyond the telling of color theory's history and other approaches to color, coming to read like a psychological thriller: how the West crushed color—or at least thought it did so."
Contents
1. Whitescapes
2. Chromophobia
3. Apocalypstick
4. Hanunoo
5. Chromophilia
References
Select Bibliography and Filmography
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgements
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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