The exhibition collected paintings from the 1960s and early 1970s, which ingeniously use bold, saturated and even hallucinatory color to enhance perception. During this period, many artists took on acrylic paint — a new affordable plastic-based medium — and explored its broad technical capabilities and a wider range of shades. Artists of the color field flooded the paint and painted the ungrounded canvas, dramatizing the materiality and visual power of the painting. The artists associated with op-art used a pattern, a geometrical arrangement, and intense color combinations to emphasize that vision is a combination of physical reaction and unconscious association.
The exhibition shows that color can be an equally formal problem and a political statement.
The exposition, created entirely from the Whitney Museum collection, includes important recently acquired works by Emma Amos and Kay Wokingstik, as well as paintings that were included in the collection shortly after their creation, by artists such as Alvin Loveing, Elsworth Kelly, Miriam Shapiro, Bob Thompson , Frank Stella and others.