June 2020 Academic & Specialist Reaktion Books

The Simple Truth: The Monochrome in Modern Art Simon Morley


Hardback | Dec 2020 | REAKTION BOOKS | 9781789142310 | 304pp | 208x156mm | RFB | AUD$44.99, NZD$54.99

The monochrome — a single-colour work of art — is highly ambiguous. For some it epitomizes purity, and is art reduced to its essence. For others it is just a stunt, the emperor’s new clothes. Why are monochromes so admired, yet such an easy target of scorn? In this illuminating book Simon Morley unpacks the meanings of the monochrome as it developed internationally over the twentieth century to today. In doing so he explores more general questions such as how artists have understood what they make, how critics variously interpret it and how art is encountered by viewers.

‘Simon Morley’s book brilliantly explores the labyrinthine complexities of this apparently simple form of abstract art.’ – David Batchelor, artist

‘An indispensable introduction to the intriguing material, optical and philosophical challenges posed by the monochrome.’ – Malcolm Bull, Professor of Art and the History of Ideas, University of Oxford