The first new blue in 200 years is now available
Have you been wondering when we’d get around to inventing some new colors already? You can stop holding your breath, because now, at this exact moment, there is a brand new blue on the scene. It’s called YInMn Blue, or “MasBlue” probably because YInMn is difficult to pronounce.
(Over the course of writing this, I’ve just started calling it Yin-Min in my head. The name comes from the elements involved in its composition: Yttrium, Indium, and Manganese)
This blue pigment was discovered on accident, during an experiment to find applications for Manganese Oxide in electronics. When this compound was heated to 1200 degrees Celsius, what came out of the furnace was this brilliant blue.
While this blue was actually discovered back in 2009, paint-making companies like Golden and others had been impatiently waiting for their chance to experiment with it themselves.
So far, reviews of this new blue are very favorable. It fills in a spot on the color wheel between Ultramarine and Cobalt blues, but also offers advantages over those two blues.
YInMn blue is more opaque than Ultramarine, requiring less of it to cover more surface area. It also is more of a primary blue than Cobalt, and can mix more vibrant greens or purples, since YInMn contains little underlying hints of yellow (like Cobalt does) or red (like Ultramarine does).
Still, the opportunity to buy is limited. According to this ArtNet article published Jan. 14, the only art store selling YInMn blue in the US is this one, which charges about $180 for a 40 mL tube. That’s six times more than the second most expensive tube. It is also currently sold out.
Do you have nearly $200 to drop on a tube of paint? If you do, please email me, I have a business venture to discuss with you 😜. If you don’t, I have a lot more links and other painting news to share with you, so maybe that will make up for it. Keep scrolling to find a list of articles to check out from this week.
Paintings links and other news
Roberta Smith, for the NY Times, has written this recap of a new exhibition of Jules Olitski (1922-2007), works that were taken from a crucial 4 years period when the artist was really prodding the boundaries of painting. He took the color staining method which originated with Helen Frankenthaler and carried it off in a different direction than she did.
While I have to be honest with you — Olitski is not my cup of tea — you do have to appreciate the color experiments that he conducted.
This painting above, for example, contains an overwhelming amount of saturated primaries fighting for dominance. The blue and pink lock arms to keep the red and yellow from brawling, but that blue has a lot of energy too. Too much for me I think; these colors are overstimulating, like drinking a cup of espresso at 4 PM. But maybe you like a later afternoon stimulant, in this case, you might like Olitski’s color field paintings.
John Mendelsohn’s Paintings of Radiating Light
For Hyperallergic, John Yau writes about the very odd yet intriguing acrylic paintings of John Mendelsohn. This show combines two bodies of work: color wheels and tenebrae.
Yau says: “What connects the two series, made six years apart, is Mendelsohn’s interest in the movement of color and light across planes and through space.”
The color wheel paintings stick out to me as strong examples of how an artist playing abstractly with hue and contrast can find such strange combinations. Some of the wheels fade into one another, while others fade into a dull gray before springing out into a brighter hue. The result for me is something surprising.
If you enjoy Yau’s descriptive passages, you can read another recent review of his, which covers the work of Stephen Pusey. Pusey is another artist who works with an odd, other-worldly type of color palette.
More links, more articles, more shows, more…
I love when the Times does a “close read of a work” — in this case, an examination of a ground-breaking, art-world-shattering Juan Gris collage: An Art Revolution, Made with Scissors and Glue.
“Red Cityscape (1989) barely looks like a city at all, or at least not a city anyone would want to live in. Slashes of a red that can be described in no other way but as indicative of blood are low-lighted by black and hash together to form the ridges of roofs, the facades of unearthly buildings, an eerily pinkened sky.”
Pictured below, Red Cityscape by Martha Diamond. See more works like this and read the review in the Brooklyn Rail.
Miss visiting museums? Engaging with art on a small phone screen can actually be rewarding - From the Washington Post - an exploration of The Met Unframed, a chance to look at even more art on your mobile. If you’re like me you might already be looking at tons of art on your phone already. Although you probably don’t need more reason to stare at a screen, this writer enjoyed the experience.
Detroit artist Charles McGee recently passed away at the age of 96. This tweet contains two excellent shots of his beautiful geometric mural. This article contains many more photos from his life and career.
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For music this week, I want to point you in a couple of different directions. This newsletter, called Snakes & Ladders, is a good one to subscribe to. This week the music of Art Tatum was a featured topic, and it’s an intriguing write up about why Tatum isn’t more widely known and celebrated. Listen to Tatum’s interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”
On January 25, 1921, the Czech author Karel Capek premiered a play titled Rossum’s Universal Robots — the first time ever that the word Robot was used as we know it today, to refer to constructed, mechanical servants. The history of it is worth reading about, which you can do so here in the info section of this concept album homage by the musician Binaural Space.
And finally, while I was writing this newsletter I was listening to a bit of the album Stone Flower by Antonio Carlos Jobim. You can find it in its entirety here.
That’s all for this week folks. See you next time, and happy painting