Since the 1970s Robert Gober has been exploring sexuality, religion, and politics in meticulously handcrafted work. Early in his career The New York Times described his sculptures as “minimal forms with maximum content.” In his art even the most commonplace object — a shoe, a sink, a bag of cat litter — contains multiple meanings and implications. The foundation of his practice is the physical act of making. What might appear at first to be a dented can of ordinary house paint, for example, might turn out to be a hand-painted sculpture in solid lead crystal.
While Gober’s work addresses universal themes of loss and longing, his personal experiences deeply inform his art, charging each work with an acute sense of intimacy. Among his best-known works are his immersive installations, the first of which, created in 1992 at the Dia Center for the Arts in New York, included a barred window set high in a wall, bundles of hand-printed newspapers, and sculptures of sinks complete with running water, among other elements. For his 1997 exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Gober made an installation with a wooden staircase ascending up the back wall, its steps rendered inaccessible by a cascade of flowing water, while three storm drains set in the floor offered glimpses of lifelike tide pools below. The installation for his 2005 exhibition at Matthew Marks Gallery comprised eight drawings and fifteen sculptures arranged in rows like the pews of a chapel, leading to a large cross bearing a headless concrete crucifix with water pouring out of its nipples. On either side, a door slightly ajar revealed a bathtub with human legs cast in beeswax just visible above the water.
Robert Gober (b. 1954) has participated in numerous international exhibitions, among them five Whitney Biennials and five Venice Biennales, including the 2001 Biennale, where he represented the United States. His work was the subject of a large-scale survey at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2014. Other one-person museum exhibitions have been organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Dia Center for the Arts in New York, the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Jeu de Paume in Paris, and the Schaulager in Basel. He lives and works in New York.