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About Beauty from the series Alphabet for the Blind

© Yuri Albert. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

About Beauty from the series Alphabet for the Blind

Artist: Yuri Albert (Born in Moscow, Russia (formerly the USSR), 1959)
Culture: Russian
Date: 1988-1989
Medium: Paint on Masonite
Dimensions:
48 x 79 3/4 inches (121.9 x 202.6 cm)
Classification: Painting
Credit Line: Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Gift of 17 Contemporary Russian Artists
Label Text:“There is nothing to see in my works but my love for art,” Yuri Albert once slyly commented. But nothing could be farther from the truth. About Beauty is one of some nine black monochromes in his series Alphabet for the Blind, a sustained meditation on sight, aesthetics, society, the politics of seeing and knowing as organized by the institutions of art, and much more. In About Beauty, Albert poses the paradox of how a work “for the blind” can be experienced if museums prevent the blind from tracing their fingers across the monochrome’s upper left corner to discover the phrase “About Beauty.” Appearing in Russian Braille, Albert created the words by attaching plastic children’s balls to the surface and then painting over them in black. The challenge Albert poses prods viewers to consider what it means to “see,” and the relationship between seeing and vision, or the ability to imagine the world and to construct meaning. The series also asks what forms of knowledge are sequestered whether one is blind or sighted. In this way, About Beauty directs the act of viewing into contemplation of the aesthetic, sometimes arcane, conceptual languages of contemporary art, which includes the monochrome itself. TZ
Object number: 1995.16.1