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L'accord bleu (RE 10) by Yves Klein, via jaredzimmerman, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0
L'accord bleu (RE 10) by Yves Klein, via jaredzimmerman, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Yves Klein: The Artist Who Invented a Color

L'accord bleu (RE 10) by Yves Klein, via jaredzimmerman, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0
L'accord bleu (RE 10) by Yves Klein, via jaredzimmerman, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Many artists go through stages where they take inspiration from extremely specific muses, but Yves Klein took “Blue Period” to a new level.

Klein didn’t just work with blue—he invented a shade of it. In the 1940s, he began painting monochromes with ultramarine, a brilliant blue pigment, but grew dissatisfied with the color's tendency to fade over time. While vacationing in Nice in 1956, he experimented with adding a polymer binder to the pigment—and fell head over heels with what he created. During the rest of his short life (he died of a heart attack in 1962, at age 34), Klein produced nearly 200 blue monochrome paintings, believing the color expressed "pure energy."

After Klein patented his color as International Klein Blue (IKB) in 1960, he rarely used anything else. He associated IKB with pure space and an intangible quality that reached beyond anything material—though he used his monochromatic IKB paintings to conduct experiments on the material value of art. In 1957, Klein painted 11 identical blue canvases and marked them at different prices. The variation, he said, reflected the unique spirit each one had. He got the asking price on all of them.

Klein’s obsession with the deep shade didn’t end at paint on canvas; he also used the hue in unconventional ways. He once released 1001 blue helium balloons to extend the color's vibes to everyone in Paris, and liked to recreate classic sculptures such as the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory of Samothrace with an IKB twist. In 1960, Klein staged a piece of performance art in which nude models covered themselves in IKB paint, then pressed their body parts to canvases.

Even if you're not an Yves Klein fan, IKB may ring some sort of a pop culture bell for you. Here’s why:

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The Blue Man Group is Yves Klein Blue. It’s more than just their color—their collective persona is partly based around Klein’s work. According to ex-Blue Man Isaac Eddy, “The Blue Man is reflecting the audience itself and the Blue Man is summoned by the audience itself ... Put more simply, you could think of it as, the color blue. It’s cased off that Yves Klein blue. That bright, bright cobalt that he created himself, and that he covered [a series of objects and paintings] with and nothing else. So the concept is that we emerged from a painting like that.”

Something tells us Yves Klein would be pleased.

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Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
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Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

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A Secret Room Full of Michelangelo's Sketches Will Soon Open in Florence
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images
Claudio Giovannini/AFP/Getty Images

Parents all over the world have chastised their children for drawing on the walls. But when you're Michelangelo, you've got some leeway. According to The Local, the Medici Chapels, part of the Bargello museum in Florence, Italy, has announced that it plans to open a largely unseen room full of the artist's sketches to the public by 2020.

Roughly 40 years ago, curators of the chapels at the Basilica di San Lorenzo had a very Dan Brown moment when they discovered a trap door in a wardrobe leading to an underground room that appeared to have works from Michelangelo covering its walls. The tiny retreat is thought to be a place where the artist hid out in 1530 after upsetting the Medicis—his patrons—by joining a revolt against their control of Florence. While in self-imposed exile for several months, he apparently spent his time drawing on whatever surfaces were available.

A drawing by Michelangelo under the Medici Chapels in Florence
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Museum officials previously believed the room and the charcoal drawings were too fragile to risk visitors, but have since had a change of heart, leading to their plan to renovate the building and create new attractions. While not all of the work is thought to be attributable to the famed artist, there's enough of it in the subterranean chamber—including drawings of Jesus and even recreations of portions of the Sistine Chapel—to make a trip worthwhile.

[h/t The Local]

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