The White Cube

The recently opened Art Gallery of New South Wales’ new Kaldor Galleries houses the gift of the Kaldor Family Collection. With the transformation of previous storage areas there are now three new large galleries plus some smaller spaces which form an extension to the existing contemporary art galleries. It’s full of the most comprehensive collection of 60s/70s painting, sculptures, and installations in the country. It favours minimalist art (Sol LeWitt, Don Judd, Carl Andre, plus a great early diptych by Frank Stella) but also includes significant collections by Nam June Paik, Rauschenberg, and of course, Christo.

In one instance, the Sol LeWitt room (titled Wall Drawing # 1091: arcs, circles, and bands, 2003) turns the convention of The Ubiquitous White Cube inside out. This work is a freestanding room structure (with quite specific and inexplicable architectural features – was it designed for somewhere else?) and you look in the windows at the blaze of hard-edge colour design on the inside. Here we see it looking past that other favourite white cubist of Kaldor’s, Don Judd, with a piece from 1975. As a forensic label-reader, I would love to know one more piece of information for all these works: when were they acquired?

When you reach the end of the exhibition, you’re even invited to make your own LeWitt! At this point you suffer an uncharacteristic art historical land-grab: “The artist – Sol LeWitt – developed a style of art called ‘conceptual art’ where the concept or idea for the art is as important as the final work.”

Another whole gallery is hung around a series of four more LeWitt sculptures, (Incomplete Open Cube 1974 – four versions) which draws the eye towards another Wall Drawing #337, of 1971. Luckily there’s enough good and interesting examples of minimalist and post-minimalist work to make the whole experience a really rewarding immersion into the aesthetics of 1970s New York.

 

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