Marcia Hafif: An Extended Gray Scale

From white to black in 106 paintings and 60 seconds: This Snapshot video features Marcia Hafif’s work An Extended Gray Scale (1973). An Extended Gray Scale, 1973, is a monumental work by Marcia Hafif that has never before been exhibited publicly in its entirety. An Extended Gray Scale, 1973, begins with a white canvas and ends with a black one, marking all of the barely perceptible shifts in gray tone in-between over the span of 106 paintings. This monumental work took Marcia Hafif 10 months to complete. For Art Basel Unlimited 2015, the gallery Fergus McCaffrey presented the complete work in one continuous row for the first time – in a room measuring 18 by 18 meters in total.

Marcia Hafif was born in Pomona, California in 1929. She grew up in Laguna Beach and Claremont. After receiving a B.A. degree from Pomona College in 1951 she moved to Rome to work and live. After an eight-year stay she moved back to California, where she earned an M.F.A. at the University of California at Irvine in 1971.

From 1972 on, Hafif has been investigating the practice of painting. For over four decades, and through 27 series, she has experimented with varying types of paint (acrylic, oil, egg tempera, ink, watercolor, and enamel), as well as supports (canvas, wood, paper, and wall). Hafif posits an empirical, positivist set of terms which she uses to embark upon each new series.

Hafif’s work has been exhibited extensively, most recently in the Hammer Museum Biennial, Made in L.A. 2014; and, she has a forthcoming exhibition at Laguna Art Museum. Her work is represented in many collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Marcia Hafif: An Extended Gray Scale. Fergus McGaffrey at Art Basel in Basel 2015, Unlimited Sector. Basel (Switzerland), June 18, 2015.

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