link below to Carl Skelton's Guggenheimlichkeit essay which gave the "Six
Feet Under Series" its curatorial frame:
During a one week period, we propose to fictitiously close
down Whitebox Gallery. The action is simple and requires minimal
physical intervention. The work is more concerned with the implications
of such an act, rather than the physicality of it.
The intervention will involve some kind of notification to passersby that
Whitebox has been closed by the Cultural Bureau of Homeland Security (CBHS).
A web URL for additional information will also be provided for those who
wish to find out more information about the official reasons behind the
closure and about the Bureau in general.
Another group of initiatives will be letters of protest that will be sent/circulated
by us and other artists/activists we are currently working with.
We are currently working on a list of possible groups (e.g., 16Beaver,
x…x…x, x…x…x, x…x…x) which will be
enlisted in helping generate questions/outrage over the closure.
All of these actions will try to generate
a public debate among cultural workers and institutions about the ramifications
of "heightened security and policing" of the "Homeland".
Furthermore, they will seek to question the role and responsibility of
cultural spaces/workers in contesting and calling into question emerging
How did this proposal emerge, How does it relate to 6Feet Under &
The proposal emerged from some discussions we were having about how to
best work with the variables presented to us by the Six Feet Under series.
The variables for us were as follows:
A. The gallery is closed.
B. We have a window which provides a surface for an intervention.
C. We are working with a limited time frame, both in terms of production
as well as the time frame of the viewer.
D. A theme based around an essay about the current role of museums (marked
by certain themes such as museum as end in itself, engendering certain
homogeneity, a certain lack of content, a certain emphasis on design,
E. The opportunity to make work that responds to this unique site.
Our notion of site here is in the larger sense of the word. In addition
to the specific location of this show (i.e., Chelsea, New York City, the
U.S); site here is also the unique time (i.e., an interesting moment in
U.S. politics internally and in relation to the rest of the world), the
site of "public art", and the discursive sites that the latter
Our idea can be read as a response to these variables. We would
like to see "Guggenheimlichkeit" more as a provocation, with
ruptures in its narrative and inconsistencies in its arguments.
We do not believe it is intended to be a clearly spelled out idea of what
is wrong with museums or even where museums are headed. However, at its
core we find a certain frustration with consistency, which we agree with
and which relates to our proposed project.
How can the theme of "normalcy" or "consistency" be
seen as a provocation?
The Chelsea gallery district now blows your mind mostly with its
It is a provocation to break rank. To stop producing what falls
in line, at the department store, at the check out stand, at 24th, 25th,
We are faced with a certain normalcy and lack of contestation in art spaces
and more entrenched cultural organizations. In approaching the theme
in this fashion, we wonder what the role of museums, Chelsea galleries
and other cultural institutions will be within a state of heightened security
and anxiety over terrorism. For us, Whitebox represents one of the
few spaces in Chelsea that has opened itself up for a variety or programs
(some that do not "fall in line" ). Therefore we believe
that it is an interesting and plausible place to be the object of censorship
by the newly formed Cultural Bureau of Homeland Security.
A tremendous amount of energy has gone into the production of elaborately
extroverted graphic design, marketing, and printing. Inside, however,
all the boxes contain the same plastic bag, which is NOT on display. In
the bag, there are pellets, or flakes, or colored balls, made of different
proportions of a standard mixture, the varieties of which span a very
narrow segment of theFOOD<->CANDY spectrum
More relevant than sheltering artworks or hearkening back to a traditional
notion of art museums, what we are wondering is what is left of social
engagement within the art context (whether it be museums or spaces such
as Whitebox or more mainstream galleries in Chelsea)? Can these
spaces be more than just containers for artworks? If "the interface
is where the action is", then an interface to what? Can the interface
be a meeting point for effecting social change/transformation rather than
passive consumption of normalcy? Can the interface be directed to connecting
issues - social, political, and cultural? These are the questions
we are interested in exploring within this project.
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