Rachel Whiteread at Luhring Augustine

by Will Brand on April 18, 2011 Reviews

Rachel Whiteread: Long Eyes
Venue: Luhring Augustine531 West 24th Street
AFC’s Rating: 3/10 (Will Brand)

Rachel Whiteread’s work is best when it explores unheralded spaces: the insides of houses; the undersides of chairs; the interstices between book and shelf. At her best, she reveals these subjects with an unexpectedness that mimics creation. This show has none of that. The casts making up most of the exhibition are of spaces we already knew of – doors, windows – and weren’t interested in. Further, she doesn’t have anything new or interesting to say about them; according to the press release, casting the windows in different shades of resin and naming them after times of day “signifies an interest…to not only cast space, but to capture time.” For real? The concepts here are simply too weak for an artist of this stature, and few of the works have the physical power to overcome that. Three works coated in rust and based on soda cans, one of built-up paper and the others casts, are the exceptions. While rust has “been done”, the directness of its relation to time has substance and promise to it, giving the soda can works a visceral “oomph” that’s lacking – perhaps actively opposed – in the windows and doors. They’re beautiful objects, but not enough to save this show.

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