vincent como

January 19, 2014, 2:39pm

The Relativity of Black: Q&A with Vincent Como

We’re all familiar with Spinal Tap’s ruminations on the color black. In this memorable scene of the mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, the band gathers around their manager as he reveals the jacket cover for their new album, Smell the Glove. There’s no text or any other adornment on it. It’s simply black -- understated and confusing for a 1980s hair band. “You can see yourself on both sides. It’s like a black mirror,” a bewildered bassist mutters. “Well, I think it looks like death. It looks like mourning,” complains the singer. “There’s something about this that's so black. It’s like ‘how much more black could this be?’ And the answer is none. None more black,” observes Nigel, the lead guitarist.

It’s all rather comical. But it’s also kind of profound -- black is death, black is the absence of anything else, black is mystifying, black is stupid. Ad Reinhardt, who was the “black monk” of the New York School, may have agreed most with Spinal Tap’s guitarist. For Reinhardt black was purely an aesthetic-intellectual pursuit and hence the negation of all symbolic meaning -- “none more black,” as Nigel put it. Color, on the other hand, is always making assertions and striving for meaning, and in that sense, Reinhardt added, “it may be vulgarity or folk art or something like that.” -- Matt Smith Chavez, San Francisco Contributor


Vincent Como | The Temptation to Exist 002, 2013. Acrylic on Canvas with Wooden Shelf. 66 x 5 x 7 inches

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