Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space Brian O’Doherty

“Galleries are a place of worship. Art is a religion.”
The gallery creates a space out of time, allowing the concept of eternal beauty and immortal artworks, and yet the gallery maintains a form structured from the modernist perspective, and does not evolve through time.

“We have now reached a point where we see not the art but the space first. (A cliche of the ages is to ejaculate over the space upon entering a gallery).”
– It is human nature to take note of one’s surroundings when entering a new environment.

“The work is isolated from everything that would detract from its own evaluation of itself.”
– if the museum is comparable to a space of worship, would the gallery not then be likened to a hospital, or alien spaceship – the art is up for inspection, in a sterile environment, to be evaluated for its true value?

“So powerful are the perceptual fields of force within this chamber that, once outside it, art can lapse into secular status. Conversely, things become art in a space where powerful ideas about art focus on them.”

“As modernism gets older, context becomes content. In a peculiar reversal, the object introduced into the gallery ‘frames’ the gallery and its laws.”

“The space offers the though that while eyes and minds are welcome, space-occupying bodies are not — or are tolerated only as kinesthetic mannequins for further study.” “Here at last the spectator, oneself, is eliminated. You are there without being there.”
– the feeling of otherness creates a separation of oneself from the work, but also from the outside, allowing the viewer to examine oneself through the process of viewing, and analyzing, the art.

“How did the easel picture become such a neatly wrapped parcel of space?”
– similar to a question I posed when reading The Universal Survey Museum

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