Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I was excited to see that Apartment Therapy recently featured a piece by my favorite contemporary artist, the British sculptor Rachel Whiteread.

Whiteread is best known for casting the interior of objects and rooms in concrete and resin, which is why I was surprised to see this particular piece of hers on Apartment Therapy: it's a whimsical chess set, comprising of miniatures of household objects and furnishings squaring off atop a patchwork chess board.

Rachel Whiteread, "Modern Chess Set" (2005)
That I adored the "Modern Chess Set" even before I knew it was created by Whiteread also surprised me, since the very minimality of her earlier work was what drew me to it.


Rachel Whiteread, "Ghost" (1990)
Her earlier castings reify the otherwise ephemeral quality of domesticity and interiority.  But rather than doing so in a kitschy or overly familiar way, they capture the quiet dignity and the absent presence of the spaces.


Rachel Whiteread, "House" (1993)
The new work is much more fun, kitschy, and darling: doll-height domestic objects in retro colors and styles on a chessboard reminiscent of a grandma's quilt.  It's intimate and small-scale.





When I was younger, I really loved conceptual art that was difficult, austere, intellectual.  And now I'm much less cerebral with my aesthetics, much more intuitive.  I'm much more likely to gravitate toward something whimsical, funny, or happy.  I don't know what to make of it other than to note that it's an interesting shift.

Who are your favorite artists?  Has the type of art you've been attracted to change throughout the years?

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