The theory of ‘white cube’

O’ Doherty noted that Art is free to “take on its own life” (Rugg, 2007). The ideal exhibiting space should be uninhabited which means to construct the space with no intolerance or disturbance before the artefact is being placed. “The outside world must

Pic.1 not come in, so windows are usually sealed off. Walls are painted white.” The ‘white cube’ theory is mainly considered as eliminated art room which is sealed from the outside, only allows to provoke the context of the artwork. The functionality of the ‘white cube’ certainly removes the “context of architecture and space as well as the institutional conditions” (O’Doherty, 1976), and that is why most of the gallery space is decorated with white walls and polished floor. Perceptive connection with reality, time and social space could be abrogated by the total white; this generates a sense of neutrality; the audience can forget there is a wall behind

the artworks and be more focusing on the artworks themselves.

The perspective of the capacity is the main factor to affect the viewers’ observation. People tend to search for things to be observed. Correspondingly, when identifying the difference between the artworks presented randomly on the street and those displayed in a museum, a common thought occurs that the one displayed in the museum tends to have a higher value. It is because most of the great museum is using the concept of ‘white cube’. Brutally, this is the fact of the tendency of one’s thought of being criticised. Thereby, “visual effect, display and narrative are central to any curated exhibition” (Rugg, 2007), the essence to determine contextualization of space and unfortunately, it may be over shallow the content of the art.

The emptiness of the exhibition hall efficiently producing the aesthetic sense of silence. An uncomfortable atmosphere occurs due to the spatial elements, “the lack of real life objects” as the entire white environment is so unfamiliar to the audience.


ARCHISCAPES. (2015). WHITE CUBE | An idea of gallery space. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 Mar. 2017].

O’Doherty, B. (1976). Inside the white cube. 1st ed. [Larkspur, Ca.]: Lapis Press, pp.7-11, 25-29

Rugg, J. and Sedgwick, M. (2007). Issues in Curating Contemporary Art and Performance. 1st ed. Bristol, United Kingdom: Intellect, Limited, pp.25


Forrest, M. (2017). 3-D crystal tribute to the Ginsburg family at Florida
Hospital. [image] Available at: http://amristudio- [Accessed 14 Mar. 2017].


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s