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Detail of light switch, Ghost, 1990, plaster on steel frame, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Glenstone Foundation, 2004.121.1

Rachel Whiteread's Vies Trouvées (Found Lives)


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Molly Donovan, Rachel Whiteread's Vies Trouvées (Found Lives) , National Gallery of Art, (accessed Jan 22, 2021).


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[fig. 2] The Whatley family in the 1930s at 486 Archway Road, London, in the room where Ghost was cast. Courtesy Kay Eliasson. Photo: James Thomas Whatley
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[fig. 3] Installation of Ghost, 1990/2012, digital C-type print, Chisenhale Gallery, London. Image courtesy of Rachel Whiteread / Chisenhale Gallery
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[fig. 4] The room at 486 Archway Road where Ghost was made, with view of the fireplace, 1990. Courtesy the artist
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[fig. 5] Rachel Whiteread making Ghost at 486 Archway Road, 1990. Courtesy the artist
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[fig. 6] Rachel Whiteread making Ghost at 486 Archway Road, 1990. Courtesy the artist
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[fig. 7] Ghost in process at 486 Archway Road, casting of the fireplace, 1990. Courtesy the artist
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[fig. 8] Rachel Whiteread, Shallow Breath, 1988, plaster and polystyrene, Courtesy the artist. Courtesy the artist / Gagosian, London / Luhring Augustine, New York / Galleria Lorcan O’Neill
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[fig. 9] Rachel Whiteread, Closet, 1988, plaster, wood, and felt, Courtesy the artist. Courtesy the artist / Gagosian, London / Luhring Augustine, New York / Galleria Lorcan O’Neill
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[fig. 10] Rachel Whiteread, Torso, 1988, plaster, Courtesy the artist. Courtesy the artist / Gagosian, London / Luhring Augustine, New York / Galleria Lorcan O’Neill
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[fig. 11] Rachel Whiteread, Mantle, 1988, plaster and glass, Courtesy the artist. Courtesy the artist / Gagosian, London / Luhring Augustine, New York / Galleria Lorcan O’Neill
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[fig. 12] Piero della Francesca, Flagellation of Christ, c. 1455–1465, oil and tempera on wood panel, Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino. © Scala, Florence—courtesy the Ministero Beni e Att. Culturali
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[fig. 13] Tony Smith, Die, model 1962, fabricated 1968, steel with oiled finish, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Collectors Committee. Tony Smith © ARS, New York and DACS, London 2017, 2003.77.1
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[fig. 14] Louise Bourgeois, Femme Maison, 1947, ink and graphite on paper, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Photo by Eeva Inkeri © The Easton Foundation / VAGA, New York / DACS, London 2017
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[fig. 15] Alberto Giacometti, The Invisible Object (Hands Holding the Void), model 1934, cast 1935, bronze, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, 1973.27.1
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[fig. 16] Rachel Whiteread, Jug and Spoon, 1984, mixed media, Courtesy the artist. © Tate 2017. Photo: Joe Humphrys
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[fig. 17] André Breton, Slipper Spoon, 1934, Photograph by Man Ray. © Man Ray Trust / ADAGP, Paris / DACS, London 2017
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[fig. 18] Rachel Whiteread, Cell, 1990, plaster, Collection Gail and Tony Ganz. Courtesy the artist / Gagosian, London / Luhring Augustine, New York / Galleria Lorcan O’Neill
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An unsolicited message from a stranger appeared out of the ether, conveying hazy remembrances of a place where a family had lived for generations. It sounds dreamlike, but it was real. In 2013 the National Gallery of Art, Washington, received an email from a man in Kentucky named Graham Whatley about his familial homestead at 486 Archway Road in North London—the same address at which Rachel Whiteread had cast her sculpture Ghost in 1990 [fig. 1] . The work had entered the Gallery's collection in 2004, the history of its making posted on the object’s web page, which Mr. Whatley found in an online search of his old address. He conveyed his excitement at his find in his message, which began:

I was playing about on Google and looked up our old home in London and discovered the piece of art the National Gallery owns which, it sounds like, is a casting of an entire room from the house! I have never seen this piece of art in person and only discovered these facts this past weekend!

My name is Graham Whatley. I currently live in Louisville Kentucky, as do my parents, now in their 80s, my brothers and sister. We are all in our 50s. We moved to the U.S. in 1963 and came to Kentucky as a young immigrant family.

We used to live in the home upon which Rachel Whiteread’s piece called Ghost is based. That address is 486 Archway Road, Highgate, London England N.6.[1] 

Whatley’s Google search turned up much more than he anticipated: namely, British artist Rachel Whiteread’s plaster cast of the entire parlor on the entry level of the home. This puzzling work is presented as a boxlike object comprising panels, installed over an armature of shelving brackets and bearing the negative impressions of the interior surfaces, facing out toward the viewer, creating a positive form from a negative space. The work was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1991, when the artist was just 27.[2]  Whatley uncovered this gem on the internet, the information flea market of the 21st century; in the process, the Gallery and the artist discovered the family that had inhabited the space, without even looking for them [fig. 2]. Questions about the role that chance played in this story are inevitable. So too are the ways in which a life cast of an interior space would refill with that life.

Whatley’s account traces his family’s time in the house back to the beginning of its history there:

A check of public deeds and land records in London would find that my grandfather, Thomas Whatley, owned the home (I believe from when it was built) until his death in about 1940 or thereabouts. He was a carpenter I believe. His wife inherited the house and she died in 1968. My aunt Lily Whatley (who has also passed away) then inherited the home and lived there until sometime in the early 80s when the local council bought the property for road widening.[3] 

The section of Archway Road on which 486 is located transitions into the A1, a busy thoroughfare out of North London. In the 1980s plans to widen Archway Road to relieve traffic on the A1 involved the removal of residential housing on both sides of the street. The local council bought the home from Whatley’s Aunt Lily, who moved to Eastern Avenue in Ilford, due east of Highgate, on the edge of Greater London—the area in which Rachel Whiteread had been born in 1963. In an intriguing reversal, Whiteread’s family eventually moved to Muswell Hill in North London, not far from the Whatley home on Archway Road. North London provided the neighborhood—a complex blend of lower-middle class, bohemian, and working-class inhabitants—in which Rachel Whiteread spent the better part of her childhood with her older twin sisters, artist mother, and geography-teacher father.

Fast-forward to Whiteread’s post-university days, when she was working to support herself as a young artist. While plans for widening the A1 proceeded, 486 Archway Road sat vacant. In 1990, to realize her desire to cast an entire room for an upcoming show at Chisenhale Gallery [fig. 3], Whiteread leased the Archway Road address from ACME, a nonprofit organization providing artists with affordable studio space, which had leased the house from the local council. The artist and ACME were already well acquainted: her studio space on Carpenter’s Road had been made available through them.[4] 

Whiteread’s choice to make Ghost from a room relatively similar in size (“not big, not small”) and style (“with a door, a window and a fireplace”) to those in which she grew up links her own life to the work.[5] Ghost was made by hand almost entirely by the artist, who laboriously hauled plaster of paris dry mix up the steep Archway Road on her bike, a few bags at a time.[6] She methodically applied wet plaster on everything but the ceiling and floor in logical, gridded sections, including the areas with the door, window, and fireplace of the entry-level Victorian parlor, where the extended Whatley family had gathered for generations [figs. 4–7].

Ghost’s facture, and the life from which it was cast, reads legibly on the work’s outer skin, with its mottled imperfections and the occasional air bubble. The chalkiness of the plaster of paris surface gives a dusty patina of ephemerality to the fragile residue of human activity indexed therein. Before making Ghost, Whiteread repaired much of the plaster and lath walls, because, as Whatley wrote, “The house was somewhat harmed by bombing during the second war and the upstairs, second floor was not liveable for some time after the war. Of course, the railway behind the house was probably targeted.”[7]

Ghost was not Whiteread’s first cast object, but it was her most ambitious to date. It became the artist’s first room-sized work following her castings of household furniture leaning against a wall, as in Shallow Breath (1988) [fig. 8], or occupying the middle of a room, like Closet (1988) [fig. 9]. Together with Whiteread’s first Torso (1988) [fig. 10], a cast of a hot-water bottle, and Mantle (1988) [fig. 11], cast from a dressing table, this furniture provided the basic comforts for a North Londoner living in a terrace house,[8] a recent university graduate, and, more specifically, a young artist working multiple jobs to support herself and maintain a studio.[9] Through Whiteread’s hard work, Ghost materialized her desire to cast a would-be container for the four earlier objects. Given its scale and complexity, it required greater planning and organizing of logistics before the casting process could begin. Conceptually, it was Whiteread’s most rigorous exercise so far, providing a rough model for the architecturally scaled works that followed.

With Ghost, Whiteread invented a new type of work, creating an impossible form by turning habitable air space into an impenetrable mass, meeting her aim, envisioned in grant proposals, to “mummify the air in the room.”[10] Ghost is a brain-bending puzzle for its viewers, once they realize that its making required something other than turning the space inside out.

Thinking of Ghost within the context of traditional casting processes offers a means of appreciating its enigmatic qualities. To make a bronze sculpture, for example, a positive model, often made of wax, is completed to the artist’s desired degree of finish. Over that surface, plaster is poured to create a mold from which the bronze is cast. In this process, the mold is often destroyed. With Ghost, however, the walls of the room are the model, and the final sculpture is the plaster mold, suggesting a form in medias res.

During the month Whiteread spent in the room at 486 Archway Road engineering her approach, the Renaissance paintings of Piero della Francesca [fig. 12] provided inspiration for the proportions of the panels without features, each approximately 30 by 30 inches (76.2 by 76.2 centimeters) and an average of 2 to 3 inches (5.1 to 7.6 centimeters) thick—so configured for removal through the door. These panels included the walls and excluded the door, window, and fireplace. The square-gridded pattern they produced, which was underscored by the woven grid of the burlap embedded in the plaster, displayed Whiteread’s predilection for structural order and mapping, recalling her geography-teacher father and Whiteread’s moniker as a “geographer of hidden space.” The grid would appear in other materials: graph paper in drawings; textiles with a gridded matrix, like nets; stacked and nested boxes; and sash windows and paneled doors. These grids provide support for the countless tensions in Whiteread’s work, including contrasts between interior and exterior, private and public, negative and positive. As Rosalind Krauss writes, “Whiteread continues to work the grid of signification,” going on to compare the artist’s cast works (vis-à-vis Roland Barthes) to photography “as a kind of traumatic death mask,” even though many are cast from life.[11]  Indeed, the “grid of signification” in Ghost is rich, open, and extensive because of the anthropometric dimensions that engage the viewer and relate to matters of order and disorder (life and death).

Ghost’s ancestors, in an art historical grid of signification, include Tony Smith’s cast steel cube Die, a proto-minimalist work (model 1962, fabricated 1968) [fig. 13].[12] Like Ghost, Die relies on the square. Given the architectonic scales of both works, Whiteread could adopt Smith’s claims, made to Robert Morris: “I was not making a monument,” and “I was not making an object.”[13] Accordingly, the works require the viewer to walk around their perimeters both to see and to experience them fully. The seemingly inert objects are reanimated by the viewer. Smith’s three-way punning title refers at once to the sculptural casting process, to half a pair of dice (thus introducing chance), and, importantly, to death. He underscored the latter when he ordered the fabrication of the 72-inch (182.9-centimeter) cube, famously adding, in reference to the work’s title and dimensions, that “six feet has a suggestion of being cooked. Six foot box. Six foot under.”[14] 

The unconscious plays different roles in Die and Ghost. While Smith maintained that “All my sculpture is on the edge of dreams,” this is not readily apparent on the oiled steel surface of Die, or in the simple geometry that  belies a mystifying depth.[15] While Smith’s geometries are abstract, Whiteread’s sculpture adheres to recognizable forms, dreamlike though they may be, giving the beholder a glimpse of the real. Another point of distinction: the titles of Die and Ghost infer entropy, yet Ghost offers a glimmer of an afterlife or, as recent writers have described the practice of abstract painting in the 1980s, of the “undead.”[16] Ghost  gave new life to postminimal sculpture by broadening its relationship to the domestic and the body through a real architectural space, with specific sociopolitical implications.[17] 

Whiteread’s alignment of the body with everyday domestic architecture calls forth another notable influence that reaches back to before 1960s minimalism, to the surrealist works of Louise Bourgeois. Of note are Bourgeois’s fragmented images in which a female figure is pictured from toes to torso, then replaced from the waist up with a house for a body and head, as in her drawing Femme Maison (1947) [fig. 14]. In a description of Ghost, Whiteread likewise anthropomorphizes the fireplace. When casting the door, she temporarily walled herself up in the room. Feeling claustrophobic, the artist recalled, “It was related to the feeling of bricking/building myself into the room and somehow the fireplace being the lungs or nose or at least a place where one could take a breath.”[18] The forms of Whiteread’s artistic forebears may be gleaned in her work, yet their architectural scale takes us, and our unconscious, to a physically unsettling place.

Whiteread’s strong identification with the interior of 486 Archway Road enabled her to represent a familiar form, one that in its domesticity squarely meets Freud’s definition and theorization in 1919 of the heimlich, alternately “homely” and “concealed.” In her reversal, the interior’s depressions face outward, displacing the viewer and confronting them with a quasi-familiar structure. Ghost creates the unheimlich (uncanny and frightening), a feeling at once of a recognizable comfort and its discordant opposite.[19] 

Whiteread recalled her aha moment when she realized that the cast was disorienting. After assembling the panels on an armature of shelving brackets at her studio, she walked in one morning to see the natural light hitting Ghost and focusing on the light switch. She understood that she, as the viewer, “had become the wall,” and that she had “done something extraordinary.”[20] Such a revelation recalls surrealist André Breton’s own eureka moment, which followed a spring outing in 1934 with the sculptor Alberto Giacometti to Paris’s Saint-Ouen marché aux puces (flea market)—which features in Breton’s novel Nadja. On their walk, Giacometti acquired a metal mask that enabled him to resolve the composition of his sculpture The Invisible Object (Hands Holding the Void) from 1934 [fig. 15]. Breton followed suit and obtained his own found object, or objet trouvéa wooden spoon with a small shoe as its handle. He realized that the object had exceeded his expectations at the time of its unconscious selection, and ultimately transformed it into the fulfillment of his original desire for an ashtray commissioned from Giacometti. Through a series of associations, he likened his find to a glass slipper, in which a Cinderella-like figure would find her perfect fit. He wrote, “It became clear that the object I had so much wanted to contemplate before, had been constructed outside of me, very different, very far beyond what I could have imagined.”[21] The connection between Whiteread and Breton resonates in other ways too: Whiteread’s first cast object, made as a graduate student at Slade, was the recess of a spoon [fig. 16];[22] the narrator in Nadja, delivering the first line of the novel, “Who am I? . . . perhaps everything would amount to knowing whom I ‘haunt,’” is a ghost.[23] Indeed, such spectral allusions abound in surrealism, as reference to the lost object, which, as Hal Foster writes, is “ghosted in the surrealist object.”[24] 

As with Breton’s Slipper Spoon (1934) [fig. 17], Whiteread’s Ghost was realized through considerable chance. The artist applied for grants from several organizations while looking for the ideal location in which to cast her room, keeping “many balls in the air” before everything fell into place.[25] Also like Breton’s objet trouvé, Whiteread’s Ghost contains the chance “visual residues” of human experiences, made available through the unconscious.[26] Whiteread’s material of choice—plaster of paris, used in works prior to Ghost and for a few years thereafter—indexes past lives through its faithful translation of the rich textures and the fragility of the areas cast. In Ghost, these include the wood grain of the skirting boards, the smooth surface of the glass window, and, most remarkably, the grisaille of coal from the last fire in the hearth, transferred to and contrasted with the white of the plaster. Artist and writer Liam Gillick described the legibility of human traces on the surface of Ghost in his text accompanying the first exhibition of the work in 1990 at Chisenhale Gallery, London:

The closer you get the more that you can read. Things and places provoke associations which are often hard to separate. . . . Rooms carry with them all types of trace, physical and mental, along with attempts to brush them over and wash them clean. This work evokes a peculiar pedantry that functions alongside what is essentially a desiccated record of both the past and the present.[27] 

Ghost hews closely to Breton’s surrealism and to Duchamp’s post-1950s handmade casts, as well as to elements of his earlier Dada works.[28] Whiteread chose the location in which to make Ghost, qualifying it as a Duchampian rendezvous, or a prearranged appointment between artist and readymade subject at a specific time and place.[29] Likewise, the artist remained uninterested in the history and inhabitants of 486 Archway Road, signaling a Duchamp-like detachment, which was perhaps necessary to complete the Herculean task. Biography can provide clarity, but it might also add weight, as British psychoanalyst Adam Phillips writes: “A biography might be like a parodic monument of our wishful relationship to the dead. This, Freud seems to say, is what the illusion of knowing another person can turn into; this is what our craving for access to others, especially in their absence, looks like.”[30] For Ghost, a lack of intent nonetheless enabled the conditions (via the house’s actual address) for those biographies to find their way back, courtesy of Whatley.

The (sometimes) opposing characteristics of Ghost—Whiteread’s lack of interest in the biography of the inhabitants and the biography that returns, its sociohistorical specificity and the chance circumstances of its making, the logical autonomy of the minimalist object and the open associations of the surrealist object—work together to mark and move the chief concerns of late 20th-century art forward, while also honoring the past.

As a temporal apparatus, the fireplace in particular connects the work to the era and place of its use. Whatley wrote of the history of this fireplace, and of the one on the floor below, which provided the model for Whiteread’s Cell (1990) [fig. 18]:

The fireplaces used coal to heat the rooms. . . . Because of this fact each room had a door on it and each room was individually heated as needed. . . . The ceramic fire places were not original but my mother tells me that they were installed after the war [World War II] when the house was being fixed from the damage of the bombing. In fact the father of Rod Stewart, the pop singer, did the work. Rod was either born or grew up at 507 Archway Road. My father and Donnie Stewart, Rod’s brother, were best friends growing up and played football for the Highgate Red Wings, the local football team at the park at the top of the hill.[31] 

Whiteread remembers watching Rod Stewart play soccer with his brother and friends at Highgate Park. As Whatley noted, “Rod describes a similar scene to this house in his recently published autobiography”:[32] 

Archway Road was a noisy, traffic-filled thoroughfare, dotted with small shops, in a mostly working-class area, with the far posher residences of Highgate away to the north. . . . Much later, after we had moved, the house was demolished so that the road could be widened, the local council finally achieving what Hitler had failed to pull off. But while it stood, it was handsome enough—a pretty big house, actually, for a jobbing plumber’s family.[33] 

The story of Ghost reads like an epic narrative, or a movie script, a tale of a loving, working-class family and close-knit neighbors surviving two world wars, and a neighbor who rose among them to become an international rock star. The protagonists of Ghost are an animated domestic space and a young artist who makes her breakthrough work by memorializing it, thus preserving the room as an index of historical change, infused with nostalgia but emptied of particular biographical content. In making Ghost, Whiteread created a new site for that content, enabling the elements of the story to reconstruct themselves.

The quiet, mausoleum-like quality of Ghost articulates the ineffable character of the absent body. It is this palpable connection to human life that imbues it with raw, silent emotion, and with power and fragility, as a living, breathing work. Its life has continued despite the artist’s assumption that it would “end up in a skip” after the Chisenhale Gallery show. In 2004 the work was moved due to its impending acquisition, narrowly escaping destruction in the Momart warehouse fire. Finally, it suffered damage in the 2011 earthquake in Washington, DC, requiring extensive treatment. Likewise, 486 Archway Road lives on as a dwelling after the local council’s road widening affected only the opposite side row of houses, which included the old Stewart family home. The house at 486 Archway Road was renovated, sold, and inhabited, and so the model for Ghost lives on. Ghost is not dead. Rather, it represents life, or lives lived, which the artist had found, and which in turn found her.

*This essay appears in the exhibition catalog Rachel Whiteread, edited by Rachel Ann Gallagher and Molly Donovan (Tate Modern, London, 2017), 38–48.

  Molly Donovan

  Feb 16, 2018

  1. Graham Whatley, email to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, January 14, 2013.

  2. Although the artist did not receive the Turner Prize in 1991 for Ghost, she was awarded it in 1993 for House.

  3. Graham Whatley, email to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, January 14, 2013.

  4. When Whiteread began working on Ghost, the facade of 486 Archway Road was covered in automobile tires by an artist as a critique of the forthcoming road widening.

  5. Rachel Whiteread, “Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series: Rachel Whiteread,” interview by the author, National Gallery of Art, Washington, October 12, 2008, audio, 1:12:21,

  6. She had assistance from her partner, Marcus Taylor, and support from next-door neighbors, artist Alan Marriott and his young daughter Hannah.

  7. Graham Whatley, email to the author, February 6, 2017.

  8. As Whatley offered, “There was no central heat and at night the bedrooms got very cold. So the beds had hot water bottles placed in them.”

  9. Rachel Whiteread, “Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series: Rachel Whiteread,” interview by the author, National Gallery of Art, Washington, October 12, 2008, audio, 1:12:21,

  10. Charlotte Mullins, RW: Rachel Whiteread (London, 2004), 23–24. Grants were awarded by Greater London Arts and the Elephant Trust.

  11. Rosalind Krauss, “X Marks the Spot,” in Rachel Whiteread: Shedding Life, ed. Fiona Bradley (Liverpool, 1996), 76.

  12. The model was made in 1962 and the final piece was fabricated in 1968.

  13. Robert Morris, “Notes on Sculpture, Part 2,” Artforum (October 5, 1966): 20.

  14. Tony Smith: Two Exhibitions of Sculpture (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, 1966–1967), unpag.

  15. Tony Smith quoted in Hayden Herrera, “Master of the Monumentalists,” Time (October 13, 1967): 84; cited in Robert Storr, “A Man of Parts,” in Tony Smith: Architect, Painter, Sculptor (New York, 1998), 11. Further examples of minimal art practice relating to death and anthropomorphic geometries are given in Jane McFadden’s lecture “Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971, VI: Some Art Is Hard to See: Field Trips with Virginia Dwan,” National Gallery of Art, Washington, November 19, 2016, audio, 26:51,

  16. See Fraser Ward, “Undead Painting: Life after Life in the 1980s,” in This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, ed. Helen Molesworth (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 2012), 50–63.

  17. For an incisive discussion of the political nature of Whiteread’s work and an insightful case study of Whiteread’s House, see Angela Dimitrakaki, “Gothic Public Art and the Failures of Democracy: Reflections on House, Interpretation, and the ‘Political Unconscious,’” in The Art of Rachel Whiteread, ed. Chris Townsend (London, 2004), 107–127.

  18. Rachel Whiteread, email to the author, March 10, 2015.

  19. See Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny,” The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey, in collaboration with Anna Freud, Alix Strachey, and Alan Tyson (London, 1955), 17:219–226.

  20. Charlotte Mullins, RW: Rachel Whiteread (London, 2004), 23.

  21. André Breton, excerpt from “Mad Love,” 1937, in Modern Sculpture Reader, eds. Jon Wood and Alex Potts (Leeds and Los Angeles, 2007), 131–135.

  22. See Hal Foster, Compulsive Beauty (Cambridge, MA, 1993), 40–42, for a discussion of the symbology of the spoon in surrealism, and its role in Breton’s “L’Amour Fou.”

  23. André Breton, Nadja (New York, 1960), 11.

  24. Hal Foster, Compulsive Beauty (Cambridge, MA, 1993), 44.

  25. Rachel Whiteread, “Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series: Rachel Whiteread,” interview by the author, National Gallery of Art, Washington, October 12, 2008, audio, 1:12:21,

  26. André Breton, “Surrealist Situation of the Object,” 1935, in Manifestoes of Surrealism, trans. Richard Seaver and Helen R. Lane (Ann Arbor, 1972), 273.

  27. Liam Gillick, Rachel Whiteread: “Ghost” (Chisenhale Gallery, London, 1990), unpag.

  28. Important recent scholarship that distinguishes between Dada and surrealism has clarified the formal and thematic concerns of each. Among them are Leah Dickerman’s Dada (National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2005), and Margaret Iverson’s “Readymade, Found Object, Photograph,” Art Journal 63, no. 2 (2004): 44–57. Differences between early and later Duchamp, seen through the lens of post-war sculpture, including Whiteread's, are discussed in the chapter “Duchamp: By Hand, Even,” in Helen Molesworth, Part Object Part Sculpture (Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, 2005).

  29. Marcel Duchamp, “Specifications for ‘Readymades,’” in The Essential Writings of Marcel Duchamp, eds. Michel Sanouillet and Elmer Peterson (London, 1935), 32.

  30. Julie Ault wrote of the care in weighing knowledge of an artist’s biography in the preface to Julie Ault, Felix Gonzalez-Torres (Göttingen, 2006), ix–xii. Ault cites Adam Phillips’s Darwin’s Worms: On Life Stories and Death Stories (London, 2001), 107

  31. Graham Whatley, email to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, January 14, 2013.

  32. Graham Whatley, email to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, January 14, 2013.

  33. Rod Stewart, Rod: The Autobiography (New York, 2012), 8–9.