Tue Greenfort exhibited Two Degrees in a gallery spacethat exemplifies a white box. However, this artwork challenges O’Doherty’s assertion that this style of architectural interior acts as a neutral and otherworldly setting for the display of art.
The architecture of most art museum interiors is a ‘white box’, characterized by an undecorated space with white walls, white ceiling, and a neutral floor. Brian O’Doherty (b. 1928), a conceptual artist and author, explored the implications of the white cube in a critical essay Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space (1976). In it he states, “The outside world must not come in, so windows are usually sealed off. Walls are painted white. The ceiling becomes the source of light…. the art is free as the saying used to go, to take on its own life.” O’Doherty argues that galleries’ antiseptic white walls determine the meaning of modern art as much as the artworks themselves. He characterized the ‘white cube’ as a non-space, ultra space, or ideal space that exists outside of its social context. Space and time are suspended and neutralized, a phenomena O’Doherty compares to Egyptian tombs and Palaeolithic painted caves. Like the white box, they evoked the sacred eternal by suspending time and dissolving space.
a. Tue Greenfort exhibited Two Degrees in a gallery space at the Sharjah Art Museum that exemplifies a white box. However, this artwork challenges O’Doherty’s assertion that this style of architectural interior acts as a neutral and otherworldly setting for the display of art. Greenfort directed the viewers’ attention to the surroundings itself. Indeed, the atmosphere of the room supplies the work’s substance and content. Read O’Doherty’s essay. Relate its content to the conceptual and physical aspects of Greenfort’s artwork.
b. Other challenges to museum conventions are asserted by: – Sonfist (living museums) – Ballengée, Critical Art Ensemble, Franceschini, Lee, and Tissue Culture & Art (museums as laboratories) – Dory and Beuys (museums as centers for dialogue) – Sherk and the Harrisons (museums as horticultural sites) – Potrc (museum as curated displays of professional artwork)
Choose a work of art by any of these artists and compare it to Greenfort’s Two Degrees in terms of expanding the role of museum as a secure space for display.