Robert Gober

(b. 1954)

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(1954– )

American sculptor and installation artist. He was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, and studied at Middlebury College, Vermont, from 1972 to 1976, also spending a year during this period at the Tyler School of Art in Rome, 1974–5. In 1976 he settled in New York, where he had his first one-man exhibition at the Paula Cooper Gallery in 1984. His best-known works simulate body parts in beeswax and are distributed around the gallery unexpectedly, for instance sticking out of walls. Sometimes they have plastic ‘drains’ inserted. Gober is gay and has written on the way that the AIDS epidemic has affected his perception of the world. This has tended to lead critics to see in his work a specific comment on the issue. His sculptures, with their disturbingly realistic surfaces, embellished with real hair, certainly give a sense of the body's vulnerability, but there are works which are more specific. In the installation work Wedding Gown (1989) he doctored a page from the New York Times so that the larger part was taken up by an advertisement showing the artist in a wedding dress under a headline reading ‘Vatican condones discrimination against homosexuals’. Alongside this, there was a wedding dress, handmade by Gober and exhibited unworn, as well as bags of cat litter. The overall sense was of loss.

Subjects: Art.

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