Kenneth Noland (American, 1924–2010),
acrylic on canvas, 103 x 216 ¼ in.; 261.62 x 549.91 cm
Museum purchase with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts Purchase Plan Grant and matching, 1978.266
In the 1960s artists questioned the nature and role of art and began to focus on specific areas of creativity. For Noland, the answer lay in the very materials used in making a painting or a sculpture, rather than the "hand"—the brush strokes or chisel marks—of its author. Noland emphasized the flat, absorbent fabric of the canvas, the liquid nature of paint, and the light-filled intensities of color, arranging vibrant, stained color in regular, geometric shapes. In Cirium he additionally explored what happens if the form inside a work is allowed to determine the shape outside. Cirium is an unusual and elegant diamond that seems to float on the wall.