Color in Containment

March 22 – April 29, 2018
11th Annual Curatorial Fellowship
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 22, 5 - 7 p.m., Panel Discussion TBA

Patrick Hughes, (one of 6 prints from) The Domestic Life of the Rainbow, 1979; silkscreen print on paper, 6/120; 5 7/16 in x 8 7/8 in
Wednesday, April 4 / 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Integrative Learning Center S140

Thursday, April 5 / 6:00 p.m.

Color in Containment examines the use of color within a group of works to ask a difficult question: can color be controlled? Should it be? The exhibition, including pieces by Patrick Hughes, Andy Warhol, and Pipilotti Rist, among others, imagines vibrant works of art from the UMCA permanent collection as specimens under glass, inviting viewers to make their own discoveries about the necessity or futility of containing color. 

Whether blossoming across a white page or glinting from within a dark ground, color is a powerful visual force, which the work of art makes a necessary effort to contain. However, in the context of an exhibition, no work of art is an entity unto itself. In a room full of works color bounces. It spills forth and shrinks back. Delicate colors can be washed out and garish color can shout down its neighbors in the exhibition space. Beyond the literal frame that contains a print, painting, or photograph there is the frame of the exhibition, which must be equally prepared to point color in the right direction or deal with the resulting chaos. Co-curated by M.F.A. 2019 Studio Arts candidate Margaret Wilson and M.A. 2019 Art History candidate Alison Ritacco, Color in Containment invites its audience to interpret these images and exhibition space with a phenomenological curiosity. The exhibition abandons the question of what color means, and instead explores the question of what color does.

The University Museum of Contemporary Art’s annual Curatorial Fellowship exhibition — now in its eleventh year — is the culmination of a year-long independent project. It is a collaboration between the art history and studio arts graduate programs. The Fellowship is designed to deepen students’ understanding of the intellectual and practical tasks of curation in a museum setting. Over the years it has provided students with hands on experience and highly valuable skills in the job market.


Color in Containment Symposium

Wednesday, April 4, 4:30 p.m., UMass Integrative Learning Center, ILC S140

Keynote Address by Pamela Fraser: “Color: Mind and Body”/ 4:30 – 5:15 p.m.

Panel discussion / 5:20 – 6:30 p.m.

Pamela Fraser with Anya Klepikov, and Mauro Giavalisco,
moderated by Margaret Wilson M.F.A ’19 and Alison Ritacco M.A ‘19:

Co-curated by Alison Ritacco, M.A. Art History, 2019, and Margaret Wilson, M.F.A. Studio Arts, 2019, the exhibition Color in Containment, on view through April 29 at the University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA), examines applications, functions, and elements of color within a group of works to ask a difficult question: Can color be controlled, and if so, why? The dialogues initiated by the exhibition will be enhanced through a public lecture and discussion panel hosted by the curators and open to all Five College students, faculty, and community members.

Pamela Fraser, Associate Professor at the University of Vermont, who is a practicing artist, curator and writer, will deliver the keynote address at the panel. She received her B.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1988, and her M.F.A. in New Genres at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1992. Fraser is the author of the recently published book How Color Works: Color Theory in the 21st Century, published by Oxford University Press. How Color Works encourages critical thinking about the conceptual and phenomenological history of color and suggests an interactive approach to teaching color theory by addressing a wide variety of media including painting, printmaking, and photography.

After the keynote address, Fraser will join a panel including Professor Anya Klepikov of the UMASS Theater Department and Professor Mauro Giavalisco of the UMASS Astronomy Department. Kelpikov, who is currently teaching a course called “Color and Proportion in 2D Design” is inspired by the teachings of “designer, artist, and master pedagogue Josef Albers,” Professor Klepikov’s class explores the 2-D composition of color within the context of 3-D theatrical design. Giavalisco, an astronomer, does his research by observing celestial objects. In his own words, “Color is even an indicator of the abundance of chemicals, including those necessary for the formation of life. So, being able to recognize, through color, the earliest assembly of chemicals in the universe is the first step in our understanding the cosmic evolution.”


This program was made possible (in part) by a grant from the UMass Arts Council, the UMass Art Department, and the UMass Art History Department.
The UMass Five College Federal Credit Union has generously underwritten UMCA exhibitions and programming for 2018. We appreciate their support.

Find updates about museum programs at . For additional information, please contact Betsey Wolfson, Business and Communications Manager; University Museum of Contemporary Art, Fine Arts Center; University of Massachusetts Amherst; 413 545-3672;