Berger's Book List: Inside the White Cube

Alright during my senior year I read a lot. If anything half of what I did that year was read and it really shaped how i approached my work. So of course got to share what I read and this seemed like a good place to do it.

Montserrat Library has this book, I actually made them order it.

So inside the white cube is actually a series of articles that was printed in "ARTFORUM" in the 70's.  Then also another article was published in the 80's as a sort of 10 year anniversary.  So this book collects all of those essays then has a introduction by Thomas McEvilley.  The guy who wrote about not likeing the MoMa modernism exhibit in the late 80's i believe.  This book was suggested to me by Lucas Spivey so props to him 'cause it's a great book.

This book is an interesting history of white wall galleries.  Taking us from salon hanging to white walls.  It then talks about all the people who tried to do more with the gallery.  Lots of interesting studies of installation and performance art.  Yves Klein, and Marcel Duchamp are talked about often in here.

It's an interesting insight into how artists felt back in the 70's (sticking it to the man with their non sellable work) and also how bitter this guy became 10 years later.  I think because he believed his movement to have failed and just be incorporated into the art market.

there is also an interesting history of the terminology of "The Viewer" and "The Eye".

This is a good book to read if you're ever going to set up a show in a white wall gallery, 'cause it gives you a history of that space as well as a history of all the people who tried to subvert it.

It was this book and an essay (I'll try to find the name of it later) from senior fine art seminar that I came up with a theory.  Salon hanging was dominant only as long as perspective was widely used.  Salon hanging the way is when paintings are show not in one single row, but also historically they were butting up to each other frame to frame.  no white space around the painting, because it was not needed.  This worked as a viewing experience because every frame had its own perspective.  So one landscape was in no way influence by the landscape next to it.  For someone to buy a painting back then meant staking claim to that perspective.  Reason why there were so many female nudes back then.  The painting was under the viewer and bent to the viewer's perspective.  If it wasn't being viewed though, then there was a sense that it (in a way) didn't exist.

Later there came this feeling that painting should be independent of the viewer, or "autonomous."  From dropping perspective the work was able to transcend the viewer and become its own object.  Another stick it to the man notion, but with this came the need to have white space around paintings.  Color relations became very important and having a painting near each other effected the two and so white space was needed in between them.

Here is where it gets very theory based, and is basically me trying to predict the future.  as the history of autonomous art developed I think the viewer got more and more alienated.  I feel that young artists growing up today don't really want to continue to alienate the viewer, they want to have a conversation.  But they don't want to be under the viewer again with perspective.  I believe the next step or "answer" is decentralized perspective.  Where origin of perspective isn't just within a frame but there are multiple points of origin and they are all around you, or decentralized.  Mostly i'm talking about art that returns to acknowledging the viewer, but not in a subordinate way.  If you're having a hard time picturing what this could possibly be, well I have found it within installation art.  By building this environment that surrounds and acknowledges the viewer.

Well that's it for now, if you think this needs clarification let me know and i'll try to polish it up.

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