Understated: Works without Color

Understated: Works without Color — Selections from the MCMA Permanent Collection

July 8 – September 10, 2017

In this year’s celebration of the MCMA permanent collection, Understated: Works without Color focuses on the allure of simplicity in art by displaying works only in black & white. Understated means “subtle and effective,” such as an understated elegance. Spanning a range of mediums, time periods, and contexts, this exhibition highlights that oftentimes the most striking pieces in a collection are the most unassuming.

Color is the element of design most often sought in a viewing experience, so it becomes a challenge and a joy to explore a selection of work that encourages us to reapproach our appreciation of art. The role of the subject matter is heightened when color is not implemented, which draws a closer connection between viewer and the artist’s message. These creations, including drawings, etchings, and woodblock prints, engage a conversation of form, line, contrast, and texture. Despite the wondrous effects of color in art, this exhibition aims to explore the ideas that less is more and that the imagination will bring just as much life to a piece of art as pigment.