21c Bentonville is thrilled to welcome two new exhibitions, Duke Riley: See You at the Finish Line and Blue: Matter, Mood and Melancholy.
About Duke Riley: See You at the Finish Line
A revolutionary-era submarine battle in Brooklyn harbor; a Roman-era spectacle in a water-filled arena in Queens; an island off of Delaware reclaimed as a private monarchy: a St. Patrick’s Day parade through the streets of Havana: Duke Riley excavates and transforms both site and history in his multi-media installations. Describing himself as an “artist-patriot,” Riley says “I combine populist myths and reinvented historical obscurities with contemporary social dilemmas, connecting past and present, drawing attention to unsolved issues.”
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About Blue: Matter, Mood and Melancholy
Cited as the most popular color worldwide, blue incites joy and sadness, wonder and nostalgia, vitality and illness, nature and artifice. While this spectrum of meaning and effect embraces broad polarities, longing and transformation consistently attend contemporary artistic use of blue as mood and hue. Brilliant blue pigment derived from lapis lazuli stones has been prized by artists since Medieval times; beginning in the 15th century, painters reserved blue for the robes of the Madonna and Christ child, denoting their divinity. Secular portraiture of the 18th and 19th centuries features lush satin and velvet fabrics in shades of blue, signaling the wearer’s exalted social or political status. “A quest for the infinite” is how 20th-century French artist Yves Klein described his obsession with the color blue. In 1958, Klein created his own particular brand, patented as International Klein Blue, which he employed in monochromatic paintings and performances, in pursuit, he famously said, of “the authenticity of a pure idea.” Research today supports Klein’s assertion of purity: scientists have determined that in nature, this color is not an effect of pigmentation, but is embedded in the cellular structure of blue plants, animals, and minerals.
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