Art and houses

A selection of books exploring the themes of housing and real estate are on display at the Fine Arts Library from our Main and Special Collections. The selection includes Wanted: Home, an artist book by Meiling Lee documenting house exteriors with hand drawn floor plans, and Ava Seymour’s Health, happiness and housing comprising collaged found images and photographs of New Zealand state houses.

Of particular note are Real estate opportunities and Rachel Whiteread: Gouachen = gouaches.

Real estate opportunities

Real estate opportunities

Between 1963 and 1978 Ed Ruscha produced sixteen photobooks including the 1970 publication Real estate opportunities. Described as “neither purely documentary nor purely artistic”1, these books presented together suites of images under themes ‘self-assigned’ by the artist. In his third book, Some Los Angeles apartments, Ruscha presents an inventory of images of apartments, each shot from across the street and deliberately avoiding human presence.

In 2004, in homage to Ruscha’s works, Max White produced a series of photobooks drawing on imagery produced while studying towards his MFA at Elam. This included Avondale palaces: Real and lost realestate opportunities.

Rachel Whiteread: Gouachen = gouaches

Rachel Whiteread: Gouachen = gouaches

For four months in 1993-94 Rachel Whiteread’s Turner Prize winning artwork House stood as a monument to its former self on the edge of an east London park, the surrounding terrace homes having been demolished by the local council. The public sculpture, a negative plaster cast of a three-storied Victorian terrace house, was only ever to be a temporary structure, yet for the few months that it existed the work drew large numbers of visitors and sparked heated debate.

A series of drawings presented in the exhibition catalogue Rachel Whiteread: Goachen = gouaches was shown simultaneously to the artist’s Turner Prize work, at daad-gallery in November/December 1993. Included were preparatory drawings such as Study for ‘House’ (1992-93) which used correction fluid on photographs.

S. Foote, Fine Arts Library


1 Ruscha, E. and Rowell, M. Ed Ruscha, Photographer. 1st ed. Göttingen: Steidl; New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2006. p.31.