Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color
This exhibition was on display from May 04, 2018 to March 17, 2019.
There were 210 objects in this exhibition but right now we can only show you 202 of them. Some objects may not be viewable because they were on loan; this might be due to issues involving image rights or simply because there is no digitized image for the objects.
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Color is an illusion, but not an unfounded illusion.
—C.L. Hardin, Color for Philosophers, 1988
Color shouts or whispers to us from every corner of our world, saturates nearly every surface we touch. An objective, quantifiable event, color is also a subjective personal experience, different for every person and deeply intertwined with language and memory. Color perception is an elusive, complex phenomenon that is still not fully understood, despite centuries of research by artists and designers, scientists and philosophers.
Yet designers deploy color everyday, across an incredibly wide array of media. Used effectively, color helps us to navigate our physical world, organize and ingest information, and make decisions as consumers. Saturated brings together extraordinary rare books from Smithsonian Libraries and compellingly colorful objects from Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection to explore how the sensory experience of color has been conceived by history's greatest color thinkers, visualized with graphic tools and models, and used by designers to bring both order and excitement to our visual world.