Exclusive: See the First Pictures of Rachel Whiteread’s Governor’s Island Installation

It's her first New York installation in 18 years.

Photo by Tim Schenk

A much anticipated highlight of the soon-to-be-completed new park on Governor’s Island, the Hills, is a permanent, site-specific installation by British art star Rachel Whiteread.


Photo by Timothy Schenck

Cabin, as the work is known, is a concrete reverse cast of a wooden shed which was installed on the island in 2015 and is set to debut to the public next month when the park opens. The park’s completion date was bumped up from spring 2017.

Photo by Tim Schenk

Photo by Timothy Schenck

Whiteread’s cast sits on Discovery Hill, one of four hills in the park that are described as offering “lush rolling landscapes, grassy overlooks, exhilarating slides, [and] unforgettable views.” The island’s newest park was designed by Dutch architecture firm West 8. Cabin was first announced in April 2014, and was initially set to be installed last summer.


Photo by Timothy Schenck

Cabin will reportedly be surrounded by bronze casts of actual trash found on Governor’s Island. The work continues Whiteread’s theme of reverse casting large structures and objects, previously seen in what is perhaps her most famous work to date, House (1993), a reverse concrete cast of an entire condemned Victorian house in East London that was demolished after 11 weeks. The work scored Whiteread the Turner Prize that year.

Rachel Whiteread's Water Tower (1998) at the Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Courtesy of smokeghost via Flickr.

Rachel Whiteread’s Water Tower (1998) at the Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Courtesy of smokeghost via Flickr.

The Governor’s Island installation is Whiteread’s first public art installation in New York since 1998, when Water Tower, a clear, resin cast of a signature Manhattan rooftop water tower was originally placed atop a roof in Soho.

This past fall, Whiteread had concurrent shows at the Bushwick and Chelsea branches of Luhring Augustine Gallery, which represents her.

Art CommisionsGI, which is curated by Tom Eccles, executive director of Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies, invites contemporary artists to create site-specific works that respond to the island’s unique vantage point on the New York harbor, including the spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty. In 2014, Mark Handfordth and Susan Philipsz were the first artists to create commissioned work for for the program.



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