Letter: 'House' raises questions of art

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The Independent Online
Sir: Rachel Whiteread's House is one of those rare works of art that unexpectedly touches the nerve of the public. It could be described as a cenotaph commemorating ordinary working-class lives and deaths; and its situation, in a new east London green space, is infinitely more appropriate than, say, the superior neighbourhood of the Tate Gallery.

If House is demolished, not all will be lost. Some enterprising public or private body (my money is on Scotland) will surely offer Ms Whiteread another similar house as the matrix for a permanent memorial. The demolition of the sculpture may be only a local tragedy, felt deeply by people, like myself, who live and work in the district; but it may have wider implications. Councillor Flounders' exultantly philistine bravado is, as your recent leading article ('Putting public gain above private prejudice', 26 November) reminds us, 'illiberal'.

Would it be only a minor local tragedy if the fate of Ms Whiteread's House at the hands of a Liberal Democrat council, two of its fingers raised in the face of public opinion (so soon after those Tower Hamlets Liberal Democrat election leaflets), persuades people like me, whose Liberal Democrat vote in a two-party system is essentially 'a curse on both your houses', to shrug our shoulders and not vote at all in the spirit of 'a curse on all your houses'?

Yours faithfully,


London, N4