The white album
Fri Dec 8 2006
It's remarkable that White Columns, New York's oldest alternative art space, is still the most progressive not-for-profit around. The gallery can thank Matthew Higgs for extending its shelf life in recent years: Crowned director in 2005, the British-born curator has been finding ways to blend what's established and brand new in the art world—in effect, contextualizing works in order to making contemporary art seem durable yet still fresh and entertaining. In the past 2 years, he's helped bring Gordon-Matta Clark back into the limelight with the mini-retrospective "Odd Lots" and exposed the younger side of an already-young crowd of art stars in "The Early Show" (a group exhibition that featured angsty high-school sketches by Elizabeth Peyton, crayon scribbles by Cecily Brown, and band practice basement tapes starring Cory Arcangel shredding on guitar at age 12, among other delightfully immature works).
Now Higgs has turned to vinyl (besides paint, the oldest medium to never have gone out of style) to promote his most recent project: a White Columns record label, slated to put out a series of albums, all imaginatively called "The Sound of White Columns." Equally imaginative (or hackneyed, depending on if you've heard of the Beatles yet) is the design: all white with no text, no graphics. Just grooves.
The first release—a 12" single by San Francisco-based quartet Tussle—sounds more apt for playing in a rainbow time machine than in a 36-year-old white-cube gallery. But perhaps that's precisely the point.
Each identical record is on sale as an edition (there are 500 in total) for $10 at the gallery. 320 W 13th St between Eighth Ave and Hudson St (212-924-4212). Tue--Sat noon--6pm. Visit www.whitecolumns.org