Los Angeles | In-Person

What Does Blue Mean?

Pablo Picasso, 1901-02, Femme aux Bras Croisés, oil on canvas. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Parking is $10 per car or motorcycle after 3:00 PM. More information here.
A Zócalo/Getty "Open Art" Event
Moderated by Reed Johnson, Managing Editor, Zócalo Public Square

Blue is, perhaps, the most poignant color. From Picasso’s Blue Period to Tennessee Williams’ “blue roses” to the Mississippi Delta Blues, the fifth hue on Newton’s centuries-old color wheel has come to convey depth, sadness, and yearning. Blue describes emotional states, musical and literary genres, and moral codes. And yet, historically, humans have found the color itself notably difficult to pin down—although blue was the first man-made pigment, it was also the last one to be given a distinct name in many parts of the world. How did blue come to occupy its singular scientific and cultural significance? What relationships exist between the history of blue pigments—ancient and precious lapis lazuli, biblical tekhelet, and rare indigo—and the wealth of meanings the term conveys today? Author of Indigo: In Search of the Color that Seduced the World Catherine E. McKinley, art historian and author of Blue Mythologies: Reflections on a Colour Carol Mavor, Oregon State University chemist and discoverer of “YInMn blue” Mas Subramanian, and Saturday Night Live original cast member and blues and comedy club owner Garrett Morris visit Zócalo to explore the science and sentiment of the color blue.