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Installation shot of "40 Years, 40 Projects" at White Columns
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by Jerry Saltz

Can space break? I mean the space of art galleries. Over the past 100 years, art galleries have gone from looking like Beaux Arts salons to simple storefronts to industrial lofts to the gleaming giant white cubes of Chelsea with their shiny concrete floors. It’s great that New York has large spaces for art. But the enormous immaculate box has become a dated, even oppressive place. Many of these spaces were designed for sprawling installations, large paintings, and the Relational Esthetics work of the past 15 years. As this type of art fades, these spaces can be seen for what they are: theatrical, generalizing, antiseptic environments that make art look like it’s in an isolation cell or an operating room.