Gothic Public Art and the Failures of Democracy: Reflections on 'House', Interpretation and the 'Political Unconscious'

Dimitrakaki, A. (2004) Gothic Public Art and the Failures of Democracy: Reflections on 'House', Interpretation and the 'Political Unconscious'. In, Townsend, C. (eds.) The Art of Rachel Whiteread. London, UK, Thames and Hudson, 107-127.


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This book chapter considers Rachel Whiteread's most famous public sculpture to date, House, surviving as a 'document'. Over ten years after House's 'disappearance', the argument presented here attempts to read through the controversy and the debates generated by this landmark piece and place its memory within a wider realm of ongoing, intersecting debates in contemporary art and political theory. These range from the contested definition of 'public art', the status of artwork as memory (House was planned to stand for three months) and the current meaning of democracy. Drawing on literature, geography and political theory, the author primarily deploys Fredric Jameson's concept of the 'political unconscious' to review the meaning and memory of this artwork as truly 'public'.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Reviewed by Gillian Whiteley in The Art Book, 12/3, August 2005, p. 40, with quote from the text. This book chapter was commissioned by the Editor and the Publishers as a result of Angela Dimitrakaki's research and publications in the areas of spatial politics, gender and contemporary art. Distributed worldwide by Thames & Hudson.
ISBNs: 0500285047 (hardback)
Keywords: Rachel Whiteread, gothic, public art, sculpture, democracy, spatial politics, House
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Art
ePrint ID: 18166
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2005
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:34

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