Chryssa, Corporate Trust, 1978
Harris School of Public Policy
My name is Laura Steward. I am the curator of public art here at the University of Chicago. And we are here to speak about Chryssa.
This is a small group of large paintings. And as you come closer to them, you can see that the canvas is a raw canvas. It’s a linen canvas that has been dyed. As you get close to them, you can see a very large grid of repeated stamps of printing plates that Chryssa got from newspapers, in one case, classified ads from the New York Times, in another case, advertisements from a New York local Chinese newspaper, which is a language that Chryssa didn’t speak. So in these paintings, we find just one little printing plate for say, like one ad, which is repeated over 1000 times in a grid. And they’re very hard to read, almost impossible. They present more as texture. They’re certainly not conveying any information about, let’s say, the real estate market in New York City.
Why would Chryssa with all the colors in the rainbow available to her choose monochrome? And not just monochrome but brown, gray beige, this very somber, restrained palette? And for me that goes to her interest in a concept she called “cool mind” and she was famously a very expressive, emotional person, but her works of art are under total control, and we can really see the “cool mind” in this very, very narrow palette.
Long Image DescriptionLong descriptions are text versions of the information provided in a detailed or complex image, like the image above.
Minuscule text is repeated in layers and grids on a gray painted canvas. The overall effect recalls densely printed newspaper classified ads. The topmost layer of text, rendered in a white-gray color, is upside down. The text appears in all capital letters in a sans-serif type style. The size of the letters varies from line to line. Some lines are too small to read. A few words can be made out: TRAVEL INDUSTRY, CHECK PROCESSING, INSTALL LOANS, MVP. Behind this white-gray layer is a second layer of text, in a darker gray. The bottom layer is mostly obscured, except for one line: CORPORATE TRUST.