There’s a mini-trend hitting the art world right now: playing cards and studio manuals. Ryan McGinness made special edition playing cards and a studio franchise manual. And now Tom Sachs has made playing cards and a studio manual, although Tom’s manual uses the medium of film. Directed by Van Neistat (a Standard brother), the mini-doc delves into what we soon learn as Sachs’ “studio color code.”
Opening with the chilling gravitas of the Clock Work Orange synthesizer, a stern British voice narrates, “The color code is nonnegotiable. We do not stray from the color code.” Much like McGinness’ studio manual, the film is clearly poking a bit of fun at Sachs’ idiosyncrasies and stringent artistic ways, but what is truly interesting is how it delves into both color history and theory. “The whole world as we experience it visually comes to us through the mystic realm of color.”
Neistat tells this color story with diverse images and video clips, but leans heavily on the work of Stanley Kubrick. And really, if you’re going to make a documentary about color, what better visuals could there be? The video is 26 minutes, which frightens you or offends your time conscious sensibilities, but if you don’t watch you’ll never learn things like:
Why Tom resents Pantones, the birthplace of Military Olive Drab 7 or the exact color of the McDonald’s yellow arches. OK we’ll give you that one. It’s CP Cadmium Yellow Medium, Golden # 1130-6 series 7 and the McDonald’s background red is Benjamin Moore Impervex Latex High Gloss, Brilliant Red 309 20 or for you spray painters, Krylon Industrial 2108 Banner Safety Red.