new-york

View of “Joe Winter,” 2011. Foreground: A Record of Events (II), 2011. Middle ground: The Stars Below, 2011. Back wall: Untitled Model for a History of Light (Void), 2010.

Joe Winter

The Kitchen

View of “Joe Winter,” 2011. Foreground: A Record of Events (II), 2011. Middle ground: The Stars Below, 2011. Back wall: Untitled Model for a History of Light (Void), 2010.

You raise your hand in your intro-to-astronomy class. “Do the galaxies and nebulae really look as psychedelic as the posters on the walls? How do they know, if these are all radio telescope pictures anyway, that galaxies are color-saturated swirls of cotton candy?” The TA shrugs. “They assign colors to the images afterward.” “Arbitrarily?” you ask, choking back the word luridly. He nods. Suddenly you lose major respect for the whole field of astronomy. Who are these people determining colors? Do they have, like, staff colorists at the lab? Do they know about Delacroix, about Cézanne, about Albers . . . ? No doubt it’s amateur hour over there, not a trained artist or art historian in the lot. You feel betrayed.

Coming to the rescue of disillusioned art students everywhere—those weirded out by the trippy decor of their basement Astro 101 classrooms—is Joe Winter, who thinks

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