How Can I Name Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

This I had never seen before. Exiting the illuminating Renaissance Portrait exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we were confronted with a wall bearing the message: Paint colors provided by Farrow & Ball.“It is a nice color,” I observed. “If you like taupe,” my companion retorted.

I don’t know why I should be surprised, really, that in a world where advertisements may soon find their way even to the back of New York City taxi cab receipts, a paint company associated with the uppermost of upscale projects and Architectural Digest spreads should have hooked up with the Met. No one can really blame the museum for giving a shout-out to the company that helped give its gallery walls such nicely quiet, rich Renaissance hues. Although in an odd moment of restraint, there was no indication of the actual paint color. Which seems quite the missed opportunity: Introducing the Metropolitan Museum designer palette! Bring the colors of the world’s most famous museum walls home! Why it could be the start of a whole series: New for summer, the Louvre! Especially since galleries and museums do seem to be adorning their walls with color, forgoing basic white for varying shades that, coupled with lighting, create different moods in different rooms of special exhibits.

Of course, in the arts world, such things take the form of sponsorships, or naming opportuities. Hallways, staircases, walls, stage entrances and stage exits, the possibilities are extending far beyond the traditional endowed chair, as a look around performance space can attest. Which reminds me, I’ve got a nice editor’s desk chair available, naming rights up for grabs.