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

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Sir: Once more, Eric Flounders conflates private prejudice with public interest (Letters, 25 November). The decision by the Bow Neighbourhood Committee, on his casting vote, not to allow Rachel Whiteread's House a briefly longer life takes no account of the prodigious interest this sculpture has generated. Only last weekend more than 3,000 people signed a petition on site in only 12 hours. Many of these were not representatives of the 'chattering classes' whom Mr Flounders acknowledges may be interested, but people who live and work locally.

We do not deny that Artangel agreed that the site should be cleared by today. However, our agreement also implied that the work would be visible for a period of about three months. We had hoped to begin work at the beginning of June. For reasons beyond both Artangel's and Rachel Whiteread's control, we did not gain access to the vacated property until August. Given the several false starts we had suffered, our specialist contractors could not begin until September.

All that Artangel had requested from Bow Neighbourhood Committee was an extension to compensate for the loss of time at the beginning. Then the sculpture would come down. We believe that this was, and remains, an extremely modest request. To turn it down places iconoclasm and intolerance before genuine local and national interest.

Yours faithfully,




London, W1

29 November