Academic journal article Afterimage

Between the Black Box and the White Cube: Expanded Cinema and Postwar Art

Academic journal article Afterimage

Between the Black Box and the White Cube: Expanded Cinema and Postwar Art

Article excerpt

Between the Black Box and the White Cube: Expanded Cinema and Postwar Art

By Andrew V. Uroskie/The University of Chicago Press/2014/288 pp./$90.00 (hb), $30.00 (sb)

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At one point in Between the Black Box and the White Cube, Andrew Uroskie discusses Marcel Duchamp's "recovery" of Victorian-era optical toys--"philosophical" toys--in his artmaking practice. The reintroduction and recreation of his prewar works of the nineteen-teens and twenties and his postwar works of the 1940s served as conceptual and aesthetic models for a range of artists in the following decades. Similarly, Uroskie undertakes his own act of recovery in this important new book, an engaging art historical/theoretical exploration of the beginnings of what was later to be termed "expanded cinema." Uroskie casts his net wider than the mainline expanded cinema works of the 1960s and '70s--works that often focused on modernist concerns of materiality, self-reflexivity, and apparatus--instead exploring a range of works, performances, and exhibitions that are more engaged with issues of spectatorship: how a viewer encounters, interacts with, or is challenged by a work and its situation within spaces or contexts that don't fit comfortably with the common experiences of the cinema theater (the black box) or the gallery/museum (the white cube).

Uroskie grounds his investigation in Cageian principles and ideas surrounding minimalist sculpture's move toward site specificity, and provides some 1960s reference points (multiscreen films at the 1964 World's Fair, Nam June Paik's 1964 Zen for Film, Claes Oldenburg's 1965 Moveyhouse performance) before circling back to the 1950s and moving roughly chronologically through close readings of key examples from the 1950s and '60s of the ways artists pushed against exhibition and viewing limitations placed on artistic practices that sought to occupy a space in between the two dominant modes of viewer engagement. …

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