The Simple Truth

The Monochrome in Modern Art

Simon Morley

The Simple Truth

Simon Morley

Distributed for Reaktion Books

304 pages | 10 halftones | 6 1/4 x 8 1/4
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9781789142310 Will Publish May 2020 For sale in North and South America only
The monochrome—a single-color work of art—is highly ambiguous. For some it epitomizes purity and is art reduced to its essence. For others it is just a stunt, the proverbial emperor’s new clothes. Why are monochrome works both so admired and such an easy target of scorn? Why does a monochrome look so simple and yet is so challenging to comprehend? And what is it that drives artists to create such works?
 
In this illuminating book, Simon Morley unpacks the meanings of the monochrome as it has developed internationally over the twentieth century to today. In doing so, he also explores how artists have understood what they make, how critics variously interpret it, and how art is encountered by viewers.
Contents
1 Introductions 2 Setting 3 Reception 4 Colour 5 Ground 6 Spiritual 7 Indefinable 8 Nothingness 9 Experiential 10 Zen 11 Material 12 Format 13 Sign 14 Idea 15 Allegorical 16 Expanded Field 17 East-Asia 18 Contemporary 19 Conclusion References
Review Quotes
Malcolm Bull, Professor of Art and the History of Ideas, University of Oxford
“An indispensable introduction to the intriguing material, optical, and philosophical challenges posed by the monochrome. Morley writes with such tact and insight that anyone interested in the contemporary practice of painting, whether expert or novice, will find the book a delight.”
David Batchelor, artist
“Brilliantly explores the labyrinthine complexities of this apparently simple form of abstract art.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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