The Q Is Blue!

By Corey Jenkins, Communications Intern


Here the Inverted Q is shown through the Chromatic Vision Simulator’s Protanope filter. To view the Q’s typical appearance, visit the Akron Art Museum’s Online Collection.

One of the first things visitors to the museum see is Claes Oldenburg’s bright pink sculpture Inverted Q. However if you are Vincent van Gogh, who one vision expert believes suffered from “protanopia,” the Q would appear to be blue.

The Chromatic Vision Simulator app for iOS/Android was developed by Japanese vision expert, Kazunori Asad. After viewing some of Van Gogh’s pieces in an exhibition where the lighting and environment was designed to display pieces the way a colorblind person sees them, he noticed that Van Gogh’s work artwork hinted at “protanopia,” the absence or malfunction of the cells in the retina which recognize the color red.

Typically, people have three types of Cone cells in the retina. Each type is responsible for sensing red, green or blue light. Color blindness is caused by an absence or malfunction of one of these cone types. The Chromatic Vision Simulator gives an approximation of “protanopia”  the lack of a red cone; “deuteranopia,” the lack of a green cone; and “tritanopia,” the lack of a blue cone.


Here Sol LeWitt’s Wall Drawing #1240 is shown in it’s common state, along with all three simulations. Clockwise from top left is Common, Protanope, Deuteranope and Tritanope.


Akron Art Museum collection anytime, anywhere

Akron Art Museum Online Collection ScreenshotThe Akron Art Museum Online Collection is now available to explore.    Thanks to generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, we have completed initial design and implementation of our website and launched with approximately 500 objects from the museum’s collection.    Since launching last month, the site has already undergone several updates to make more objects available to our virtual visitors, and will continually expand over the next year until our entire 5,000 object collection is represented .

Our Online Collection already contains many objects beyond those on view in our physical galleries and delves deep into the archives to highlight pieces even a faithful visitor might not have seen before.    People can access extensive educational material, short essays for major works, exhibition histories, provenances, and biographies of artists.   Years of documentation and research have gone into the online content, while work over the past year has paid off in an intuitive and interesting catalog design.

Making the collection available online allows the Akron Art Museum to fulfill our mission of enriching lives through modern art and reach a broader audience to communicate the significance of our holdings. We’re very excited about our new Online Collection website, and can’t wait to continue sharing more wonderful objects from our archives with the world.

Explore and share our collection now at