After British photographer Kirsty Mackay gave birth to her first daughter in 2006, she found her life inundated by pink. There were pink onesies, pink bibs, pink booties, and pink blankets. She didn’t buy any of these items herself, but instead received them from well-meaning friends and family.
“It was when I had enough pink clothes that I could do a whole pink wash [in the laundry], that it made me think there’s something really powerful happening here and I want to trace where it had come from,” Mackay explained recently in a Kickstarter video to raise funds for My Favourite Color Was Yellow, a book based on a series of photographs she took of young girls in their pink bedrooms in the UK. “My family is exactly the same as all these families in the book,” the photographer said. “We’re all navigating our way through this sea of pink.”
Mackay began the series soon after that first pink laundry load. She started with her daughter, her daughter’s friends, and her friends’ daughters, then expanded to photographing people she met on the street and through social media. In the images, pink surrounds girls at every turn, gracing their bedspreads, sweaters, and even cellphones. They often seem to love the color, as seems evident in one photograph showing two fuschia-swathed girls posing triumphantly on a plush pink bed.
But in other images, the girls seem less enthusiastic, as though they’ve merely accepted the color’s preeminence as a fact of life. In these instances, the color becomes not just a color, but also a symbol of all the unfair, unrealistic expectations to which society expects young females to conform. As Mackay explains, the book’s title comes from a personal memory a subject once shared — that when asked by a friend what her favorite color was, she lied and said it was pink. “The title places an emphasis on a lack of choice, and that’s really what’s at the core of the book,” she said.
Kristy Mackay’s My Favourite Color Was Yellow is fundraising on Kickstarter through February 28.
Special Edition: 🖌️Artists’ Signatures ✍️
In this special edition, we investigate what artists’ signatures actually mean, and the fascinating results reveal the multifaceted history of this curious phenomenon.
What Is a Signature in the Internet Age?
As a cryptographic unit for record-keeping, an NFT can be seen as analogous to a signature or an autograph.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
The Meaning of Ancient Greek and Roman Artisan Signatures
What did a signature mean in the ancient world, and how much can we trust what they seem to tell us?
Michelangelo’s Signature and the Myth of Genius
Michelangelo served as a stellar example for future artists who sought status and economic independence.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
Uncovering the Photographer Behind Arshile Gorky’s Most Famous Painting
As we pursue photographer Hovhannes Avedaghayan a fascinating picture begins to emerge of him and the world of which he was part.
100 Years of Artist Signatures in a Detroit Club
The beams in Detroit’s Scarab Club act as a guest book of sorts, carrying a wealth of stories and history, including signatures by Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp, Margaret Bourke-White, Isamu Noguchi, and others.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
The Myth of Agency Around Artists’ Signatures
In an art world built on shifting sands, artists’ signatures become symbols of agency for some, and relics of the past for others.
The Women Artists Commemorated on an NYC Sidewalk
The signatures of Rosa Bonheur, Mary Cassatt, and six other historical women artists are engraved on a small stretch of sidewalk on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Met Museum Repatriates 15 Objects to India
The sculptures were all at one point sold by the disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor.
Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Placed on Russian “Wanted” List
Tolokonnikova has long been a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin’s regime.