Water Tower Project

Rachel Whiteread (1963 - )

Screenprint with acrylic varnish


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  • About the work
    Country: USA
    City: New York
    Place: British Consulate-General

    ‘Water Tower Project’ is a study for a public sculpture commission that Rachel Whiteread undertook in New York in 1998. Supported by The Public Art Fund, ‘Water Tower’ was her first public sculpture in the United States. A translucent resin cast of the interior space of a wooden water tank, it was cast in a colourless polyurethane resin, the translucency and texture of which were affected by changing shifts of daylight. Situated alongside two functioning water tanks, the sculpture was visible from street level at the corner of West Broadway and Grand Street throughout June 1999.

    Before this project, Whiteread had completed ‘House’, her famous but controversial sculpture based on a cast of the interior spaces of an abandoned house in London’s East End (destroyed in 1994). Although she was reluctant to become involved in another public project, she was drawn to the iconic status and ubiquity of the New York water towers. Whiteread made her name by creating works of art that are familiar to us, but which prompt us to reconsider the world from a new perspective. ‘Water Tower Project’ explores the ambiguity between a sculpture that is physically present yet, paradoxically, ephemeral. ‘Water Tower’ is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

  • About the artist
    Rachel Whiteread was born in London and studied at Brighton Polytechnic and the Slade School of Art. One of the most established artists of her generation (labelled by the media ‘YBAs’, or Young British Artists), she is known for her sculptures of negative spaces of domestic objects. She was the first woman to win the Turner Prize in 1993 and in 1997 represented Britain at the Venice Biennale. She has produced several commissions, including 'Monument' (2001) for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth in London and 'Embankment' (2005–06) at Tate Modern. Her work is represented in international public collections from London to Sydney. Whiteread was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2006.
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  • Details
    Water Tower Project
    Screenprint with acrylic varnish
    height: 63.50 cm, width: 50.90 cm
    Purchased from Anthony d'Offay Gallery, March 1998
    below image: 27/35 / Water Tower Project / R. Whiteread
    the artist; purchased from Anthony d'Offay Gallery 1998.
    GAC number