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The Red that Colored the World
The Red that Colored the World
3301 4th Street
Lubbock, TX 79415
museum.texastech@ttu.edu
806.742.2490
www.museum.ttu.edu

The Red that Colored the World | Sept. - Jan.

The color red, with its brilliant hue, has inspired artists’ imaginations and seduced viewers for millennia. And we have a small insect to thank for this magical color.

The exhibition, The Red That Colored the World, combines new research and original scholarship to explore the history and widespread use in art of cochineal, an insect-based dye source for the color red whose origins and use date to the pre-Columbian Americas.

The exhibition translates the cochineal story into three dimensions, following the precious bug juice and its use in art from Mexico to Europe to the U.S. and beyond. The exhibition highlights more than 60 objects including textiles, sculpture, paintings, decorative arts and, clothing from the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, private lenders, and museums around the country. The exhibition explores the history of cochineal and the seductive visual nature of red. The objects reflect the unique international uses of color, revealing its role in the creative process, and the motivations of artists in their choice of materials.

Artists and dyers for centuries strived to find the color source to rival the best reds of nature and to express the spirit, symbolism, and sustenance of life. Their quest ended in the Aztec marketplaces of 16th-century Mexico, where Spanish explorers encountered the American cochineal bug. The bug created an unparalleled range of reds with potent economic value. Its ensuing global spread launched an epic story of empire and desire that pushed art, culture, and trade to the edge of the unknown.

Pre-Columbian weavers used cochineal. So did El Greco, Tintoretto, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh. Hispano saint makers and Navajo weavers of the 18th- and 19th-century American Southwest followed suit, as did 20th century-Spanish design icon Mariano Fortuny. Synthetic dyes eclipsed natural sources in the late 19th century, but cochineal’s cachet never completely waned. Through such international objects, the exhibition follows the story to today, where cochineal and the color red remain hot commodities in cosmetics and commercial products, contemporary art, fashion and design, and other expressions of popular culture.

The Red That Colored the World, organized by the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM and circulating through GuestCurator Traveling Exhibitions, has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Ladies in Red

Arnold Scaasi designed red dress worn by Laura Bush for a Dec. 7, 2003 portrait with President George W. Bush in front of the White House Christmas Tree. Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. White House photo by Eric Draper.

Red is the color of power and passion. It is a color that says “look at me.” Red clothing signifies confidence and the desire to stand out from the crowd.In Ladies in Red, the Museum of Texas Tech University draws on its superb clothing and textiles collection to create an exhibit featuring red clothing from former first lady Laura Bush; National Championship Coach Marsha Sharpe; and local fashion leaders Margaret Talkington, Louise Underwood, and Carol Krueger Layne.

Ladies in Red is on display Sept. 11, 2018 to Jan. 17, 2019 in the Main Gallery of the Museum. It is a companion exhibition to The Red That Colored the World which explores the history and widespread use in art and textiles of cochineal, an insect-based dye source for the color red whose origins and use date to pre-Columbian America. The Red That Colored the World is on display Sept. 17 through Jan. 17.

Featured in Ladies in Red is the Arnold Scaasi designed red dress worn by Laura Bush for a Dec. 7, 2003 portrait with President George W. Bush in front of the White House Christmas Tree. Texas Tech’s use of the bright scarlet red as its school color is also represented in Ladies in Red in the suit worn by Hall of Fame basketball coach Marsha Sharp when the Lady Raiders won the NCAA national basketball championship and in past Texas Tech cheerleading uniforms.


Red, Hot & Quilted

Inspired by the upcoming red exhibits, the Caprock Art Quilters decided to challenge themselves to create quilts around the color red.  Red, Hot & Quilted is on display Sept. 25, 2018 to Jan. 17, 2019. Expect to be astonished and amazed by these colorful creations sparked by the incredible creativity of this group of West Texans. 

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The Red that Colored the World
The Red that Colored the World
3301 4th Street
Lubbock, TX 79415
806.742.2490
www.museum.ttu.edu

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