Chromophobia by David Batchelor

Chromophobia - a fear of corruption or contamination through colour - has lurked within Western culture since ancient times. This is apparent in the many attempts to purge colour from art, literature and architecture, either by making it the property of some "foreign" body - the oriental, the feminine, the infantile the vulgar or the pathological - or by relegating it to the realm of the superficial, the inessential or the cosmetic, which in many cases amounts to the same thing. In Chromophobia, David Batchelor analyzes the history of, and motivations behind, chromophobia, from its beginnings through examples of nineteenth-century literature, twentieth-century architecture and film, to Pop art, minimalism and the art and architecture of the present day. Batchelor suggests how colour fits, or fails to fit, into the cultural imagination of the West, exploring such diverse themes as Melville's "great white whale," Le Corbusier's "journey to the East," Huxley's experiments with mescaline. Dorothy's travels in the Land of Oz and the implication of modern artists' experiments with industrial paints and materials.

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