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Art & Design

Manual

a journal about art and its making. Blue

Indigo blue, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, cerulean blue, zaffre blue, indanthrone blue, phthalo blue, cyan blue, Han blue, French blue, Berlin blue, Prussian blue, Venetian blue, Dresden blue, Tiffany blue, Lanvin blue, Majorelle blue, International Klein Blue, Facebook blue. The names given to different shades of blue speak of plants, minerals, and modern chemistry; exoticism, global trade, and national pride; capitalist branding and pure invention. The fourth issue of Manual is a meditation on blue. From precious substance to controllable algorithm to the wide blue yonder, join us as we leap into the blue.

From the Files: Curatorial assistant A. Will Brown discusses color theory of Joseph Albers’s Homage to the Square series, revealing notations on the back of the canvases.

Double Takes: Curator Dominic Molon and cognitive scientist Karen Schloss illuminate the perceptual play of a Dan Flavin light sculpture; conservator Ingrid Neumann and curator Lawrence Berman unearth the matter and meaning of the ancient pigments in an Egyptian paintbox; art historian Margot Nishimura and paper preservation specialist Linda Catano look closely at the exquisite details and hues of a 15th-century manuscript illumination.

Object Lessons: Curator Kate Irvin provides a tactile archaeology of the faded shades of indigo of a Japanese boro garment. Louis van Tilborgh and Oda van Maanen of the Van Gogh Museum examine the dominant blues and disappearing violets of van Gogh’s View of Auvers-sur-Oise.

Portfolio: A survey of blue from azure to zaffre.

How To: Curator Elizabeth A. Williams illuminates the history of blue and white porcelain. Photographer Anna Strickland discusses Anna Atkins’s early cyanotypes.

Artists on Art: Artist Spencer Finch presents a tear-out color study. Author Maggie Nelson considers an Alice Neel’s portrait. Graphic designer Jessica Helfand mixes Facebook blue with the cyanotype process.

Manual: a journal about art and its making, a new twice-yearly journal, uses the collections, exhibitions, and collaborations of the RISD Museum as an impetus for essays and interviews, artist interventions, and archive highlights. A fusion of academic arts journal and design magazine, Manual is a resource for engaged conversations about art, design, and the impact of creative making by curators, artists, scholars and educators.

RISD Museum director: John Smith
Manual Editor-in-chief: Sarah Ganz Blythe with S. Hollis Mickey
Editor: Amy Pickworth
Graphic designer: Derek Schusterbauer
Photographer: Erik Gould (unless otherwise noted)
Printer: Jay Buckley at Meridian

Selected objects from Manual:
a journal about art and its making. Blue