Pocket sized proposals for a mammoth project, from visionaries from across the arts spectrum.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Museum Typology Model II: White Cubes

Museum Typology Model II: White Cubes

Emerging as Modernism transitioned into minimalism the white cube of International Style architecture became the preferred building vessel for the containment of art in the 20th century.   As art work shifted away from a historical representations and narratives to more conceptual and philosophical operational grounds a neutral was deemed important. 

The white cube is an abstraction of a building.  It is vague rendering of space which allows the contents and viewer to project themselves upon the space.  Michael Fried made some assertions regarding shifting role of the viewer  in his 1967 Artforum essay Art and Objecthood*.  It is interesting that he work he chose to use to exemplify his argument was Tony Smith's sculptural cube, Die.

Fried was against this new relationship which required the engagement and participation viewer. He preferred the more transmissive, now nearly extinct, arrangement in which the art delivered a message and the viewer received the message without any regard or thought of them self.   

I wonder though if the artist have given over too much control in how work is viewed.   Can in be shifted from place to place, wall to wall, city to city,  culture to culture, and time to time and still maintain it's same intent and integrity?  Is the white cube too amorphous of space allowing too little control of the viewer's experience and allowing to much of the viewers personal history to simultaneously come into consideration?  Or does the white cube operate as an index triggering the clearing of the viewers mind in preparation for the intake of something new?

The Getty Museum In Los Angeles by richard Meier and The New National Gallery in Berlin by Ludwing Mies Van der Rohe.

1 comment:

  1. The white cube asks to much of a general audience.With that said,a near perfect form in a non color* is riddle of sorts...maybe one that has no answer but if it wins it wins by intimidation.