How Is It So Blue?

Yves Klein's Blue Monochrome at MOMA New York; high school kids marveling the painting
Image via Twitter

by David Moore

Yves Klein’s Blue Monochrome (1961) is a painting of about five by six feet, arresting enough to make a high school class on a field trip stand transfixed in front of it and repeat: “It’s so blue” “How is it so blue” “It’s so fucking blue” etc. When I sped past the painting on a recent visit to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, I was reminded of the history of “Yves Klein blue” (aka “International Klein Blue” and “IKB”) in the field of philosophy of mind. For decades, this unique color has been a touchstone in long-running debates about how much it “matters,” in a philosophical accounting, that the physical matter of the brain creates internal experience.

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