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Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread: “I can let anything happen”

October 21, 2020
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Ms. Whiteread, do you think all good art should invite us to view the world differently?

I think all good art can be a commentary on the world as it is. I think if it can do that, if it can make people think, then it's really done its job. And even if it takes someone a long, long time to understand something… The best writing, the best music is not necessarily something that you come across and understand quickly; things can be very difficult or hard to look at, they can be complex and ugly. And those things are extremely important. That is what art and culture is there for.

Is that why your work represents the real world around you rather than something more abstract or fantastical?

I think I've always worked using things that have appealed to my domestic sensibility in a way. And that may sound quite strange, but it has to do with wanting to be kind of grounded, and feel my feet on the ground, literally. Simple as that. I don't like fantasy movies very much, I don't really read fantasy books, I’m not into Sci-Fi or anything like that … So the narrative of my work is really born from what everyone experiences every day, the psychological process, politics, all of those things.

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Last week’s Interview

RZA: “I knew where to go”

October 14, 2020
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RZA, as the de-facto frontman of Wu Tang Clan, when did you realize you had what it took to be a leader?

The leader part, I actually tried to shy away from! If people follow a leader, when the leader does not move, then they don’t move. So we talked about it in the Wu Tang Clan to have me as the abbot, the abbot meaning “the best knowing.” I am the one who knows the best. If you can’t find an answer yourself, we take it to the abbot. He gives you the purest, unfiltered answer. Instead of a leader, I would always say to the crew, “We all go to practice leadership because at any given moment you never know who’s going to have to be the tip of the spearhead. But the spearhead won’t go through unless everybody is pushing.”

What do you mean?

For example, when Method Man’s song was on our second single, it was such a strong song, it was everything that hip hop needed. And in order for that song to be a single, everybody else in the crew had to sit back and wait for their time. And I said, “We all stand behind him. Let him be the lead singer. And then Raekwon becomes the lead singer.” So instead of leaders, people should adapt the idea of leadership. Everybody has leadership qualities within them.