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Gober, Robert (b. 1954)  
page: 1  2  3  

Two installations presented in 2005, continuing in the ambitious manner of Untitled (1992) and Untitled (1997), are likewise ambitious summations, recalling the grand history paintings of the Renaissance and Baroque traditions.

Untitled (2002-04), installed at the Matthew Marks Gallery in New York, loosely follows a floor plan of a church with a Surrealist mix of political, Catholic, and personal iconographies that respond to the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The focal point is a human wall fountain, a crucified and headless Christ from whose nipples water spews and drains into a hole in the concrete floor.

The Meat Wagon (2005), which Gober presented at the Menil Collection in Houston, was a critical examination of the museum as an exhibition space, intermixing works from the institution's permanent collection with Gober's objects, both earlier and new. In this work, Gober broke new ground in his continuing self-examination of personal identity. This installation is Gober's assessment of the artist's relationship to museum curators, and the relationship of works of art to the culturally determined context of the art museum.

Gober's art is deeply poetic, drawing its strength from the artist's multifaceted reflections on who he is. Hence, his art is a kind of cumulative, non-representational self-portrait. His compelling sculptures and installations are coded for emotional and cultural binaries: childhood experience / adult recollection, life / death, loss / redemption.

Gober sets his personal vocabulary of forms in play with our own memories and public symbols to create universal statements that address the fragility of being human and the hope of transcendence.

An intensely private man, Gober, who continues to reside in New York City, protects the details of his personal life. At the same time, however, he has from early in his career been open about his homosexuality and its deep relevance for his work. In February 2003, he appeared at Yale University in one of the first events sponsored by the Larry Kramer Initiative for Gay and Lesbian Studies, "A Conversation with Robert Grober," thus explicitly acknowledging the connection between his sexuality and his art.

Richard H. Axsom

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Gober, Robert, and Brenda Richardson. A Robert Gober Lexicon. London: Steidl Books, 2006.

Gober, Robert, and Harry Philbrick. Living with Contemporary Art. Ridgefield, Conn.: The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, 1996.

Gober, Robert, et al. Robert Gober: Sculpture and Drawing. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1999.

Gober, Robert, Matthew Drutt ,and Josef Helfenstein. Robert Gober: The Meat Wagon. Houston, Tex.: Menil Foundation, 2006.

Schimmel, Paul, and Hal Foster. Robert Gober. Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1997.


    Citation Information
    Author: Axsom, Richard H.  
    Entry Title: Gober, Robert  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated September 5, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  


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