In a letter to John Cage in 1950, Kelly declared his wish to make paintings that would not just hang on the wall as pictures: “They should be the wall,” he wrote, “even better — on the outside wall — of large buildings.”
In 1989, the architect I.M. Pei asked Kelly to create a work for a new building he was designing for the Dallas symphony. The four 34-foot high, 4-foot wide panels Kelly made perfectly fill the limestone-clad atrium wall, which the artist treats as both a frame and a canvas for his work.
Blue Green Black Red (1989) was made the same year as the Dallas Panels and in the same material and color sequence. When it was exhibited in the inaugural exhibition of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, the curator Charles Wylie recalls that “Kelly slyly remarked that all the colors represented things present in Texas: sky, land, oil, and fire.”