So Blue

Yves Klein's take on the "Venus de Milo," done in IKB (International Klein Blue).

If I could write Encyclopedia of the Exquisite all over again, I’d make room for Yves Klein and his IKB—that is, the ultramarine color he patented in 1956, International Klein Blue. Like Robert Rauschenberg, whose early 1950s monochromatic paintings do appear in the book, Klein created all-blue canvases, which he showed in Paris in 1955. These were accompanied in the gallery by a chamber music ensemble which held a single note for 20 long minutes, then lapsed into silence for an equal amount of time, just like some of John Cage‘s silent experiments, which are covered in Encyclopedia.

Best of all, however, were two additional works described, like the others above, in this good New Yorker piece on Klein: a box he made to display the words, “May all that emerges from me be beautiful,” and his Immaterials. A collector would pay Klein, and receive a receipt. Klein would then buy gold leaf and sprinkle it over the Seine.

Yves Klein, I love you!

Yves Klein in 1959.