White Cube: architecture formed by minimal aesthetic, neutral, idealistic – the conditioned authoritative space. Such spaces are structured for presentation and impression, the viewer is engrossed in new perspectives but also the socio-political shape and history of art viewing. After Living in the Room of Réalités Nouvelles, positioned prominently on Gallery Row, asks ‘what constitutes (composes) a Contemporary Salon?’
Curated by Ann Harezlak. Presenting works by: Edgar Arceneaux, Tony Berlant, Zoe Crosher, Linda Geary, Rema Ghuloum, Jeffrey Gibson, Christopher Kuhn, Christophe Leroux, Gemma Levine, Constance Mallinson, Susan Mikula, Robin Mitchell, Brittany Mojo, Lester Monzon, Brion Nuda Rosch, Betye Saar, Jered Sprecher, Marie Thibeault, Material Conjectures and text by KollActiv.
Catalogue featuring an Abstraction by KollActiv
Art display is traditionally tied to a type of abstraction not too different from abstracting precious stones from the ground and placing them into a necklace: the artwork is forged in one environment – most likely the artist’s studio – and placed in another. These individual artworks travel from the studio and are positioned within a new assemblage or exhibition. Spaces that treat artworks in such a way are distinctively labelled by Brian O’Doherty as being White Cubes. A term deployed to describe those galleries that attempt to create a neutral frame for this abstraction by providing a white space in which individual works can ‘speak’ for themselves.
Cited against this model are artistic practices that construct installations responding in situ to the exhibition, or absorbing curatorial strategies within their own methodology; undermining the ability for their work to be abstracted and appropriated. From the 1960s Institutional Critique and even the work of Marcel Duchamp, has questioned neutrality and democracy in the whole system of art. Site Specific practices can operate outside of the gallery space altogether, often only circulating within the system through documentation. However, counter to their authors intentions many of these opposing practices also extend the ‘white walls’ to encompass the outside. This leaves us with the question: how can we think abstraction and its potentiality now – within its wider terminology as a process or strategy?