Friday, October 14, 2011

Display of art before modernism and 'white cube' practices

First of all the lecture started with Stella talking about the 'Display of art before modernism' and 'White Cube Practices. Going back to how art work was displayed in places of worship and churches, for people to look at and treasure generation after generation. Places such as the Sistine Chapel in Rome display beautiful works of art that relate to the meaning of the building itself.

Weathy peoples collections back in Renaissance Europe displayed their work in Curiosity Cabinets which were also called a 'Wunderkammer' - a wonder room.

Many of the rich also had art work displayed in their grand houses to astonish and welcome guest with beautiful images. The art work showed the rich and wealthy in their countries and many of the men were shown on their high steed horses to represent power and wealth.

However, many years later, abstract artists such as Piet Mondrian, embraced the modern concept of simple structures. Showing their work in a simple basic manor that differ completely from the 14th Century style of cluttered art work.
“The painter himself must be white, which is to say, without tragedy or sorrow..the artist’s studio must resemble high-mountains topped with snow”- Theo van Doesburg
         Art moved quickly from Europe to America, displaying art in a more conformed and simple manor. Alfred H. Barr believed that modern art was developing towards abstraction which essentially limited many artists who were outside of this bracket. Barr was the first director of Moma in New York and the art centre was privately funded and relied on the support of rich individuals to keep it going. The rich were the ones to introduce America to modern art and essentially limited the way it was displayed, like it was a fashion trend.  
Here is what the Moma looks like inside today... 

         The White Cube space was essentially designed to isolate everything. To not distract from the artwork so that the viewer would appreciate the art. The windows are blocked out and therefore artificial light is used to create an isolated and unusual feeling of being away from the whole world to look at this imaginitive artwork hanging in a simple white room. 

However, many artists have found the 'white cube' effect daunting and bland to look at artwork in and have rebelled against this idea of showing their art and photography work in this way.  Photographers such as Kuba, Kutlug Ataman show their work in an unusual space to relate to the meaning of their work...

Christian Boltanski also displays his images in places that relate to his work such as Churches... 

I have always walked into an art gallery and wondered why the walls were always white. Having visited many places of royalty, I have always been more fascinated about the way they choose to show artwork. I walk in and it is all around me. On the ceilings, walls and even the floors. Whereas the modernistic style of the 'white cube' I find bland as it makes no meaning for the images.

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