They talked about Sweet Tarts, the childhood candy. They talked about Easter pastels.
In the end, guest curator Richard J. Powell and chief preparator Brad Johnson, in consultation with other museum staff, selected eight pastel colors for the walls of Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist.
White walls would not have been the right choice to enhance the vibrant, unexpected colors on Motley’s canvases. White walls would have “pulled something away” from the works, Brad said. “It definitely needed some color.”
TOP: Chief Preparator Brad Johnson considers a dizzying choice of colors in a Pantone book. MIDDLE: Gallery view of pastel-colored walls, with Archibald J. Motley Jr.’s Mending Socks, 1924, in foreground.Collection of the Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Burton Emmett Collection, 58.1.2801. © Valerie Gerrard Browne. In background, Archibald J. Motley Jr.’s Brown Girl After the Bath, 1931. Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio. Gift of an anonymous donor, 2007.015. © Valerie Gerrard Browne. Photos by Wendy Hower.