Over the course of her 30-year career, Rachel Whiteread has changed the way that the world thinks about sculpture. Her reverse casts of negative spaces, made of industrial materials such as concrete, plaster, and resin, transform the ordinary and unseen into something enduring, striking, and impossible to ignore.
The exhibition Rachel Whiteread is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s practice, bringing together over 90 artworks that chart a course from her early career to the present. The works range in scale from the diminutive to the monumental, from casts of hot water bottles and toilet-paper rolls to doors, windows, and staircases. A selection of drawings and photographs provides a view into Whiteread’s artistic practice and illuminates her complicated casting process. Whiteread memorializes the rich, human histories that are contained within modest objects: she compels us to reconsider our relationship to the material world.
In 1993, Whiteread became the first woman to win the prestigious Turner Prize, an annual prize awarded to a British artist. Since then she has received numerous awards and commissions and her works can be found in the collections of renowned museums around the world, including at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Tate Britain in London. In 2017, the Saint Louis Art Museum acquired Whiteread’s sculpture, Detached III, a cast of a garden shed, which is on view on the southwest lawn.
The exhibition is curated for St. Louis by Simon Kelly, curator of modern and contemporary art, and Hannah Klemm, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art.