Unreal Nature

June 3, 2017

A Red Brought Nearer to Humanity

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:32 am

… As a color, it is so retro now.

This is the chapter on ‘orange’ in The Secondary Colors: Three Essays by Alexander Theroux (1996):

… At times orange and purple seem almost more like flavors than colors, and the colors, despite oranges and grapes, more artificial than natural.

… William Holden as Hal Carter in the movie Picnic, sweaty, tanned, and half naked to the waist, is literally as orange as the basketball he bounces when he first meets Madge (Kim Novak), a beauty who is both attracted to him and who is color-coordinated to him with her soft tawny hair …


William Holden in Picnic

… Elvis, by the way, loved orange silk pajamas. And Frank Sinatra, when dressed in his single-breasted tux to sing, often wears an orange pocket handkerchief. As a color, it is so retro now. “I live for meetings with suits [male executives],” pop singer Madonna told Vanity Fair in 1991. “I love them because I know they had a really boring week and I walk in there with my orange velvet leggings and drop popcorn in my cleavage and then fish it out and eat it. I like that. I know I’m entertaining, and I know that they know.”

… On the vapid show The Brady Bunch, which ran from 1969 to 1974, the actors of which were described by someone as “lively young nowsters who dressed in flowery jumpers, billowy mod shirts, and burnt orange bell-bottoms,” we no doubt found that color at its nadir. It was a period, the early seventies, of earth tones, with orange represented by colors such as sienna fustian, mustard, and Albuquerque loam! (Didn’t that simpering father on The Brady Bunch always wear the Ban-Lon saffron shirts of a yahoo and orange “floods”? Or is it the revolting fact that everybody did?)

… Ask any Vietnam veteran who was stationed in the Mekong Delta … about his “red boots,” constantly muddied, dry or wet, with the orange-red soil of that war-torn, tormented country.

… I have seen miners in Welsh collieries, with helmets and oxygen, wearing orange overalls as they descend into dark seven hundred meter holes. Are not most border crossings replete with orange warning signs? The US-Mexican border at San Ysidro-Tijuana is incoherent with all sorts of ramps, passageways, and official signs, all a minatory orange.

… There is to the flesh and juice of the color orange a sensuousness. In its burning insistence can be detected the irresistible. It tempts, it entices, it insinuates.

… As a color of high aspiration, with the drive of vivid red chanting in its aura, it may stumble, be deficient on the sensual side, cause mistrust, at times even show a lack of warmth, even want of intelligence and logic, and yet like other colors of hot hue ambiguity it badly wants success and deeply yearns to please. It is perhaps there in the unreconstituted and rewarding pleroma of that conviction, a “red brought nearer to humanity by yellow,” as Kandinsky says, making a marriage of one strong color with a less highly pronounced but supportive and nurturing one, that orange blushing with youthful charisma, finds its singing life.

-Julie

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