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Orange Art
by Andrea Alessi

Hello, Amsterdammers!


It’s that time of year when extra days off are tacked onto the weekends and working hours are cut a bit short in exchange for a little extra time op terrasje. Don’t try to deny it. I know you’ve all foregone work for a beer in the sun at least once in the past two weeks. No one wants to think too hard, so instead of pondering the latest gallery exhibitions or searching for clever insights into, well, anything, let us relax and feast our eyes on some orange. Here for your Queen’s Day pleasure, I present to you this little trip through a very orange (and by no means comprehensive or sensible) history of art.




(Jacob van Hulsdonck, Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Pomegranate, c. 1620-1640; Photo Courtesy : The Getty Collection, Los Angeles)

Ignoring the lemons and pomegranates, this Dutch still life is super-orange.




(Claude Monet, Venice Twilight, 1908; Photo Courtesy: Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo)

Skipping nearly 300 years, including more recent orange ventures from Turner, Matisse, and Van Gogh, we arrive at this impressionistic take on orange.





(Mark Rothko, Orange and Yellow, 1956; Photo Courtesy: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

A classic descent into orangey madness.




(Ellsworth Kelly, Orange Curve, 1964-65; Photo Courtesy: National Gallery of Australia)

This is sleek and effective 1960’s orange.






(Robert Motherwell, Open Number 24 in Variations of Orange, 1968; Photo Courtesy: Museum of Modern Art, New York)

To be perfectly honest, we could’ve swapped this one out for this Ryman or a number of other Kellys. Let’s just say there were variations on a theme of orange happening in the 60s.




(Donald Judd, Untitled, 1971; Photo Courtesy: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York © Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Photo: Erika Ede, Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa)

Yes, it’s orange boxes.




(James Turrell, Meeting, 1986; Photo Courtesy: P.S.1, photo by Michael Moran)

For our purposes, this orange environment is where it’s at. (Even if the orange is secretly being used to highlight other colors that we shall not mention).




(Sandy Skoglund, The Cocktail Party, 1992; Photo: Courtesy of the artist © 1992 Sandy Skoglund)

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. It’s amazing and I need some Cheetos immediately.




(Christo and Jeanne-Claude, The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 1979-2005; Photo Courtesy: Wolfgang Volz ©2005 Christo and Jeanne-Claude)

Okay, so technically it’s “saffron." Either way, Amsterdam should be so lucky as to have a public artwork so pervasive, so epic, so… orange.




(Damien Hirst, Deck Chair, 2008; Courtesy of the artist)

Planning on sitting around all Queen’s Day, selling your wares in the Vrijmarkt? Wondering how you can express your love for art and orange at the same time? Problem solved! And while we’re talking about YBAs: shout out to ArtSlant London! We didn’t forget that this is a big weekend for you guys too. Enjoy the Royal Wedding hysteria!




(Ryan McGinley, Tracy (Cherry Drizzle), 2009; Photo: Courtesy of the artist)

We end our little tour with this cave dive into solitude, youth, and freedom. We’ve come a long way from Lascaux and Greek Vases (both arguably somewhat orange) to Ryan McGinley, but I think I’ve proved something important here today. I would tell you what that is, but I need to go drink prosecco in the sun. Happy Queen’s Day everyone!


~Andrea Alessi, a writer living in the Netherlands

Posted by Andrea Alessi on 4/25/11 | tags: abstract photography installation mixed-media sculpture

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