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Rachel Whiteread Symposium, Part 4: Remarks and Discussion

Helen Molesworth, writer, scholar, and curator. Artist Rachel Whiteread has made casts and drawings for more than 30 years in an effort to define the space between positives and negatives, public and private, manufactured and hand-made objects—always with concision, intelligence, beauty, and power. At the National Gallery of Art, an unprecedented and comprehensive survey exhibition of Whiteread’s celebrated career introduces a new generation of audiences to her work, which addresses how we live. To close the symposium held on October 26, 2018, in conjunction with the exhibition, Helen Molesworth wove themes found throughout the program into extemporaneous remarks before inviting the day’s speakers for a panel discussion. In addition to summarizing the talks, Molesworth mused on ways Whiteread produces work out of paradox. “The endlessness of casting,” according to Molesworth, evokes both loss and fecundity while the artist’s use of household items reproduces and publicizes objects associated with privacy. The symposium ended with a panel discussion among all the speakers.