New York – The exteriorization of interior space is Rachel Whiteread’s signature. The British artist has cast the interiors of wardrobes, rooms, and even entire buildings in concrete. The objects that result solidify “negative” space into sculpture.
For Cabin, her first major permanent American public commission, Whiteread has cast the inside of a modest cabin and sited it on a hill on Governor’s Island, just off lower Manhattan in New York Harbor.
Whiteread has added whimsy to the work’s meditative, Thoreauvian thematics by casting bits of refuse – bottles, cans, and other junk – in bronze and scattering them around the cabin’s periphery. The surrounding vegetation will be allowed to grow unhindered, eventually engulfing the cabin and, as a press release puts it, “causing it to blend into the hillside and contributing to its appearance as a weathered, secret hideaway.”
Cabin was commissioned by Art CommissionsGI, an ambitious program that has brought the work of many contemporary public artists to the island, whose 172 acres are divided between a municipal public park and a national monument.
Cabin is Whiteread’s first public art installation in New York since 1998’s Water Tower.