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This Colorful Exhibition Was Made for Instagram

Artist CJ Hendry’s latest house-like installation assigned each room a distinct color

smithsonian.com

The office was entirely orange—the mid-century recliner, desk, shelves, computer screen, all of it.

The bathroom was purple, the kitchen green and the bedroom yellow.

The colorful rooms were part of Australian artist CJ Hendry’s Instagrammable pop-up Monochrom, which briefly lit up a 22,000-square-foot industrial space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, last week.

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According Architectural Digest’s Amanda Sims, Hendry’s immersive show, which fashioned seven rooms into seven distinct colors, drew inspiration from collectors who design their living spaces around art. It’s a concept she decided to take to the “extreme” in the installation. “The art is the focus, everything matches the art," says Hendry in a statement, referring to her framed renderings of Pantone color swatches that hung from the walls in each of the rooms.

The photographable space featured everything from a tub full of plush pink teddy bears to Astroturf green countertops—a kitchy and colorful playground practically made for social media.

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“Some people will love it, some people will hate it,” says Hendry, who is no stranger to Instagram-friendly art. According to i-D’s Hannah Ongley, Hendry's hyper-realistic black-and-white drawings of luxury items and other goods have long been popular on the platform. In a 2014 Daily Telegraph story, Elizabeth Fortescue reported that the artist even sold her first piece—a massive drawing of Australian bushsman and entrepreneur Reginald Murray Williams’ iconic boots—for $10,000 thanks to Instagram.

Monochrome is somewhat of a departure for the Aussie artist. Ongley reports that Hendry only began incorporating color in her work in 2017, when she painted hyper-realistic drawings of colorful oil paint blobs for a collaboration with Christian Louboutin. In contrast, she used no black, white or gray in Monochrome and instead relied on its colorful palate to convey its story.

“In place of a wordy monologue of what the artwork is about, I have created space where instead of reading a blurb about the show and artwork you can physically walk through what I am trying to say,” Hendry tells Ongley.

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Monochrome ran Thursday, April 5 through Sunday, April 8 at 276 Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. Prints of each of the rooms are currently sold out on the artist’s website.

About Julissa Treviño

Julissa Treviño is a writer and journalist based in Texas. She has written for Columbia Journalism Review, BBC Future, The Dallas Morning News, Racked, CityLab and Pacific Standard.

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