Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Green walls come and go, red paint is rolled on and painted over, but in the world of art white walls rule. This powerful context was identified by Brian O’Doherty in his 1976 essay in which the white cube gives as much meaning to the art as the artworks themselves. For a while in the late 1980s there was an attempt to argue this context was in fact neutral, but it was always a lost cause. In New Zealand dealer galleries often started as reflections of the artist’s studio, the front room at home without the fireplace. Then came the two-room gallery that has evolved over the years and now can run to polished concrete floors, dockways and loft-like spaces. There’s a nice rhythm to it all. The shows go up, the shows come down and the walls are patched and rolled out white ready for the next one.