The white cube is an established part of the contemporary art scene today. It offers an invisible canvas on which art can be presented without distraction. The white cube resembles an ancient tomb or a time capsule in part, as it holds precious objects carefully selected, enclosed in a space untouched and uncontaminated. It is timeless due to the absence of modern day material objects, leaving the viewer totally detached from the outside world as there are no points of reference. Predominantly there will be a Curator, guiding the audience through each aspect of an exhibition, the white cube, strong but silent in its supporting role.

To a larger extent, galleries and museums across the world still use the white cube as the preferred modus operandi for exhibiting artwork and artifacts. Therefore, the white cube ideology remains the benchmark to exhibit artworks and bears an eternal value within the art world.

With reference once more to the word ‘eternal’, the white cube also becomes pertinent when thinking about the gallery as a shop, as O’Doherty reminds us in his series of essays; ‘Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space’. The white cube features as a timeless construction, which in turn gives the artwork an eternal life and freedom in an economic and political sense. Still today it works as a platform to entice art critics and potential art buyers. Again this shows us that the white cube concept is a pivotal part of the modern day art world, still assisting the economy and progressive patterns needed to advance and expand.

The intangible aspect of infinity is an inescapable part of the white cube idea and runs deep into our current way of working within the art industry. It enables the gallery curator to concentrate on conceptual evolution. It is clear that the white cube debate will continue but I believe that unless another form of immutable space can have such an effect on the way art is presented then we will carry on using this intriguing notion.

Rosie Snaith

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