Letter: Private prejudice, public interest and Bow's 'House'

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Sir: Eric Flounders' letter (25 November) shows a Gradgrindian adherence to the facts of the commission and a Pecksniffian attitude to the spirit of its execution. The supposedly objective tenor of his letter is called into question by his expressed dislike of the work itself. He calls it 'this piece of experimental nonsense': House could not be further from an experiment.

As with all her work, Rachel Whiteread's initial conception was carried through to its foreseen conclusion and shows no signs of trial or uncertainty. Nor can I see how it could be called 'nonsense' when it is so potent in its allusions to public and private life, to memory and materiality, fact and poetic evocation, embodied in a form that is immediately accessible. It is an oustanding work of our time.

If there is anything experimental about House, it was the Bow Parks Board's decision (admirable in itself) to allow it to be erected. But it appears, from the evidence of the vote for demolition taken on 23 November, that the board is unable to deduce the right conclusion from its experiment: that it has worked triumphantly.

Yours faithfully,


Associate Editor

The Burlington Magazine

London, WC1