Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space, Expanded Edition / Edition 1

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When these essays first appeared in Artforum in 1976, their impact was immediate. They were discussed, annotated, cited, collected, and translated—the three issues of Artforum in which they appeared have become nearly impossible to obtain. Having Brian O'Doherty's provocative essays available again is a signal event for the art world. This edition also includes "The Gallery as Gesture," a critically important piece published ten years after the others.

O'Doherty was the first to explicitly confront a particular crisis in postwar art as he sought to examine the assumptions on which the modern commercial and museum gallery was based. Concerned with the complex and sophisticated relationship between economics, social context, and aesthetics as represented in the contested space of the art gallery, he raises the question of how artists must construe their work in relation to the gallery space and system.

These essays are essential reading for anyone interested in the history and issues of postwar art in Europe and the United States. Teeming with ideas, relentless in their pursuit of contradiction and paradox, they exhibit both the understanding of the artist (Patrick Ireland) and the precision of the scholar.

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What People Are Saying

Jan van der Marck
As fresh and stimulating today as when they jumped off the pages of Artforum . Those who have not read Brian O'Doherty will relish his poetically phrased, elegantly written, and ironically tempered taunt to so many received notions about 20th-century mainstream art.
— Jan van der Marck, author of Arman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520220409
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/14/2000
  • Edition description: Expanded
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 113
  • Sales rank: 1,526,827
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Brian O'Doherty, a.k.a. Patrick Ireland, is an artist and writer. His work has been shown in numerous galleries and museums in the United States and Europe. His books include Object and Idea (1967) and American Masters: The Voice and the Myth (1973, 1988).

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 6
Introduction 7
I. Notes on the Gallery Space 13
A Fable of Horizontal and Vertical
The Properties of the Ideal Gallery
The Salon
The Easel Picture
The Frame as Editor
The Myth of the Picture Plane
The Picture Plane as Simile
The Wall As Battleground and "Art"
The Installation Shot
II. The Eye and the Spectator 35
Another Fable
Five Blank Canvasses
Paint, Picture Plane, Objects
Cubism and Collage
The Spectator
The Eye
Schwitters's Merzbau
Schwitters's Performances
Happenings And Environments
Kienholz, Segal, Kaprow
Hanson, de Andrea
Eye, Spectator, and Minimalism
Paradoxes of Experience
Conceptual and Body Art
III. Context as Content 65
The Knock at the Door
Duchamp's Knock
1,200 Bags of Coal
Gestures and Projects
The Mile of String
Duchamp's "Body"
Hostility to the Audience
The Artist and the Audience
The Exclusive Space
The Seventies
The White Wall
The White Cube
Modernist Man
The Utopian Artist
Mondrian's Room
Mondrian, Duchamp, Lissitzky
IV. The Gallery as a Gesture 87
Yves Klein's Le Vide
Arman's Le Plein
Warhol's Airborne Pillows
Buren's Sealed Gallery
Barry's Closed Gallery
Les Levine's White Light
The Christos' Wrapped Museum
Afterword 109
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