August 19, 2008

Abject British Dollhouse Collectors Now Know Who To Blame: Rachel Whiteread

whiteread_place_village.jpg

Pity the lot of the East End collector of old doll houses who, o'er these past twenty-odd years, has been thwarted at every junk shoppe and antique store in his quest. Too late, too slow, too pricey, has been his fate. And the angels of eBay offered no solace either, as he lost sale after sale to a voracious, yet unseen bidder.

Now, thanks to the dogged investigative curatorial efforts of the Gagosian and Hayward Galleries, we finally know the truth: The insidious hooverer of slightly shabby, homemade doll houses is none other than sculptor Rachel Whiteread. Apparently, all these years of her casting the overlooked spaces of rooms, inside water towers, along bookshelves, all that Turner Prize winning and Tate Turbine Hall filling, it was all just a diversion, a front, a way to fund her insatiable dollhouse collecting habit.

This year, Whiteread has been flaunting her trophies, first in Naples, then in London at a Hayward Gallery exhibition titled, "Psycho Buildings," after a book by Martin Kippenberger. In October, she'll present the spoils at the MFA in Boston. The artist has arranged the hundreds of old dollhouses into Place (Village), an eerie, sad, even haunting tableau. The lights are on all over the little doll house town, but nobody's home. It's like the set of an M. Night Shyamalan movie that didn't totally suck, if such a thing were possible. Of course, it's not, but such is the power of the artist that she can, for a brief moment, allow us to dream.

Psycho Buildings at the South Bank Centre's Hayward Gallery closes Aug. 25th [southbankcentre.co.uk via guardian, which has pics]
Rachel Whiteread's Place (Village) opens Oct. 15 at the MFA in Boston [mfa.org]
And look, handmade vintage dollhouses on eBay UK with no bids! [ebay uk]

4 Comments

Call me awful, if you must, Greg. But I cannot resist your little snide bombs-"like the set of an M. Night Shyamalan movie that didn't totally suck, if such a thing were possible." indeed!

Too funny. And thanks for the tip for the MFA:)


on the contrary, I find your praise of me very astute and insightful.

M. Night Shyamalan? Try Marimekko's Mökki (vacation cottage) pattern instead for a more cheerful take:

Wow, that is gorgeous. I'm so excited it'll be at the MFA this fall! You're dead on about the eerie & sad, which is why I love it. If we stall around (shouldn't be much of a problem), it can be our baby's first real show. Well, except for a show at the Eric Carle Museum. Ok, second real show.

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