True Colors?: A Type of Bliss

Charles Riley at Strand Bookstore

Fri, Sep 28 at 7 p.m.   |   90 minutes

Nothing in art rivals the power of color, the sharpest tool in the artist’s toolbox. It is potent even to the point of seeming dangerous. What is it about color that moves us so directly?


Nothing in art rivals the power of color, the sharpest tool in the artist’s toolbox. It is potent even to the point of seeming dangerous. Josef Albers’ class at Yale began with a stern warning about inconstancy: “Color deceives continually.”

Color vs. line divides art history. Delacroix, Rothko, Kandinsky, Matisse and others fearlessly pushed color to the forefront of composition. Jung, Wittgenstein, Joyce and Pynchon explored its verbal complexities, while Debussy, Berlioz and Wagner set it to music. What is it about color that moves us so directly? The seamless connection to emotions and memories and the ecstasy of extreme optical effects test the bounds of conscious control. Maybe the danger factor is part of the pleasure. “What is color?” asked the philosopher Roland Barthes. “A type of bliss.”

Join Charles A. Riley, director of the Nassau Museum and author of Color Codes, for an interdisciplinary inquiry into the perils and pleasure of color.

Teacher: Charles Riley

Charles Riley II is the director of the Nassau County Museum of Art, an arts journalist, curator and professor at Clarkson University. He graduated from Princeton and received his Phd from City College of New York.


Venue: Strand Bookstore
Add to Calendar Sept. 28, 20187 p.m. Sept. 28, 2018 America/New_York Think Olio | True Colors?: A Type of Bliss Nothing in art rivals the power of color, the sharpest tool in the artist’s toolbox. It is potent even to the point of seeming dangerous. What is it about color that moves us so directly? None

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

Scenius Membership

If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


Other Upcoming Olios


Eastern Medicine for the Western Mind & Body: Taoism & The Five Elements

Location: at Online

Teacher: Darryl Aiken-Afam

April 15, 2021, 7 p.m.

Disability and Perfectionism

Location: at Online

Teacher: Jeanne Proust

April 19, 2021, 6:30 p.m.

Between Two Worlds: The Olio Cinema Series

Location: at Online

Teacher: Whitney George

April 20, 2021, 7 p.m.

Scarcity and Abundance: Foraging as an Ecosystem Service

Location: at Online

Teacher: Chris Baker

April 22, 2021, 8 p.m.

"Seeds Beneath the Snow": Utopia through Ecological Crisis

Location: at Online

Teacher: Lauren Hudson

April 23, 2021, 6 p.m.

Reclaiming Health Through the Art of Fermentation

Location: at Online

Teacher: Sandor Katz

May 13, 2021, 6:30 p.m.

Theater and Climate Justice: Creative Tools for Building a Better World

Location: at Online

Teacher: Lanxing Fu & Jeremy Pickard

May 18, 2021, 7 p.m.

Deschooling & Decolonizing: Systemic Change From the Inside Out

Location: at Online

Teacher: Kashema Hutchinson

May 28, 2021, 7 p.m.


Stay in Touch


Instagram Mailing List Contact

Get Involved


Liaisons Host an Olio

Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.