Friday, April 20, 2012


"With the rise of cities, the wall's real enemy is not nature but other human beings who lead secretive lives on the opposite side, lives that are contiguous with ours but that we seldom see, that make their presence felt only by means of late-night quarrels, the distasteful smells of cooking, creaking box springs, and the constant murmur of flushing toilets. Overcrowding and urbanization have given the wall new meaning. Ever since the first loose stone was piled on top of another, crude partitions have delineated property and thus served as architectural extensions of our sense of identity, a way of saying to our enemies "mine," a deed of ownership we sign in bricks and mortar. As we are herded together by overpopulation and are forced to abandon the luxury of detached dwellings for small apartments, the architectural ramparts of our identities are besieged by the madding crowd, which would claim its share of the ever-dwindling space available in which to lead lives that have become more and more solitary the closer we live to each other. The poetry of paint names is based on a misanthropic aesthetic, one that pretends that our walls are not communal property, are not shared, that there is nothing behind them but the green sward, wide open spaces devoid of other people, vast horizons of Island Dawns, Arizona Sunsets, Big Skies, Mountain Forests, Pink Mesas, and Burning Sands. Paint provides us with a psychological barrier from our neighbors, a way of achieving a sense of self-containment and allowing our imaginations to revel in that most pressing desideratum of urban life—space, the empty clearings available for a song on the color preview palette." -an excerpt from the article Paint and Paint Names by Daniel Harris, Cabinet Magazine, Issue 7, Failure, Summer 2002. Link here to read full article.

Sampling of Benjamin Moore's "white" paint chips.  Image source is from the article Paint and Paint Names, link above.

Source is Cabinet Magazine

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