The Simple Truth: The Monochrome in Modern Art (Hardcover)
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.
About the Author
Simon Morley is an artist and assistant professor at Dankook University, Republic of Korea. He is the author of Writing on the Wall: Word and Image in Modern Art and Seven Keys to Modern Art, and editor of The Sublime.
“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.”
— Malcolm Bull, Professor of Art and the History of Ideas, University of Oxford
“Brilliantly explores the labyrinthine complexities of this apparently simple form of abstract art.”
— David Batchelor, artist