Art History with Dusty- Yves Klein

This was part of a series that I was doing last year on my Facebook page and I have recently decided to start doing these again on a semi-regular basis to keep my mind stimulated. I need to stay busy and educated. And I hope I am able to lend to you some of what makes me happy in this life. Which is art!

Yves Klein, “Fire Painting,” Flame Burned into Asbestos. 1961-1962
“Blue Monochrome” Dry Pigment in synthetic polymer medium on cotton over plywood.

This is probably my favorite artist that I have discovered since starting this little art history ordeal. A few days late, but I present you Day 1 of Art History with Dusty!

Yves Klein was at the forefront of a movement started in the same era as Pop Art, called Noveau Réalism. During the time that followed WWII, artists were approaching the idea of materialism, consumerism, militarism, and nationalism. The movement was particularly focused on humor and irony. It encompassed a lot of styles and techniques that were not as specific and contained as previous movements such as Dada, Assemblage, and Abstract Expressionism.

New Realism was developed in the Parisian loft of Kleins by a French Critic by the name of Pierre Restany in 1960. A manifesto on the style was created  and and exhibition was showcased that same year. The second exhibition, held a year later. was called “40 Degrees Above Dada.” Klein was one of the only artists not approaching the movement in the style of Assemblage -“(1)They are predominantly assembled rather than painted, drawn, modeled or carved;(2) Entirely or in part, their constituent elements are pre-formed natural or or manufactured materials, objects or fragments not intended as art materials.” as described by its organizer, William C. Seitz.

Klein was fucking esoteric and bad ass. In my opinion. His painted panels where done in a shimmering deep blue that he patented as IKB (“International Klein Blue”) which showed no signs of brush strokes and were nearly identical. So what did he do? He priced all of them differently. Creating this idea that people put way to much effort into the monetary eperience of art. As if one painting that had a higher dollar value would add more meaning to your life. It was his slick way of throwing the spiritually uninformed  viewers a middle finger… Poking fun at the critics, essentially, and totally pulling the covers over the viewers.

In 1958, to further push the envelope, he had an exhibition called, Le Vide (The Void), where the gallery was left with bare walls. Nothing was hung and the gallery was empty. Putting a healthy serving of ‘Fuck Yous’ in the face of what people called High Art. This dude was punk and anti-establishment before it was a thing to be such. He left an entire gallery empty, IN PARIS!

Then in 1959 he decided to approach the monetary/spirituality concept of his works again. He created certificates of authenticity, which he priced in the value of gold at the time, and preferred the method of payment to be in gold dust. If purchased, the patron would have to meet him alone the Seine river side. He would throw half of the gold in to the river and then I picture him laughing audibly at the person incredulous face.- He would make you then burn the certificate of authenticity. Which was the art piece in and of itself.

His fire paintings were made with a flame thrower blown onto a flame retardant surface. He wanted to stop the impersonal of current trends in art and society and wanted the painting tor sculpture to be the beginning and ending of its own understanding. Nothing deeper to see than the physical piece itself. Surely connected to the concept of Dada that Marcel Duchamp was the champion of. 


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