Blue Monochrome by Yves Klein
1961, 195.1 x 140 cm., MOMA
Dry pigment in synthetic polymer medium on cotton over plywood
Let's address the obvious frustration up front. You may be thinking something like "Huh?" which is what I thought when I first saw these works. The greatness lies in the weirdo that is Yves Klein. I've said it before and I'll say it again, most great artists are a bit weird but, Klein kicks it up a notch!
I haven't always been a fan of Yves Klein until I recently started studying him a bit more and realized what a quack he was. I loves quacks, especially in art. Double especially when people get annoyed by them!
Klein was completely obsessed with the color ultramarine blue and actually patented a shade calling it I.K.B. (International Klein Blue). Now, it's hard to hear the name Yves Klein and not immediately think blue. Many artists have created strong artworks that stick in your brain, but never has a single artist had such a foothold on a single color. I love him for that.
In 1957 he organized an exhibition displaying 11 paintings exactly like Blue Monochrome. They were all identical- all the same size, all the same material, and all unframed. The only difference was the price tag. This probably annoyed a lot of people (and still does) because it seems like he is mocking artistic tradition. I, on the other hand, think this is one of the main reasons Klein is such a lovable quack. In that single exhibition he basically declared that he thought the importance people placed on status and having a lot of stuff, was just plain silly. He priced identical works different to prove it doesn't matter the price of things, it's all the same.... pointless and unnecessary.
So, instead of getting annoyed with Klein, I actually have come to appreciate his absurdity. When I see a Blue Monochrome I am reminded that life isn't about who has what.
It's the little things, like the color blue, that show the most truth.