Untitled
Gallery Text

Gober uses shifts in scale and incongruous juxtapositions to make common objects seem strange. The oversized sink suggests a manufactured fixture, bringing to mind the urinal Marcel Duchamp used for his readymade Fountain (1917). In fact, Gober meticulously handcrafted the object, leaving traces of his process on its surface. The perverse quality of his gesture is enhanced by the elastic and spindly human limbs that weave in and out of the drain and tap holes, as if replacing missing plumbing. The waxen legs, studded with adult human hair yet distinctly childlike, exemplify Gober’s conception of the body in pieces — a collection of fragments as dysfunctional as the sink. The artist began exploring this merging of people and things at the height of the AIDS crisis, a time of extreme suffering, largely sanitized by the government. Sinks figure in a series of sculptures Gober refers to as “psychological furniture,” addressing themes of hygiene, sexuality, desire, and memory.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2010.544
People
Robert Gober, American (Wallingford, CT born 1954)
Title
Untitled
Classification
Sculpture
Work Type
sculpture
Date
2009-2010
Places
Creation Place: North America, United States, New York, New York City
Culture
American
Location
Level 1, Room 1120, Modern and Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art: Body/Politic
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Plaster, beeswax, human hair, cotton, leather, aluminum pull tabs, enamel paint
Dimensions
114.3 x 167.6 x 73.7 cm (45 x 66 x 29 in.)
Provenance
Robert Gober completed 2010, sold; [through Matthew Marks Gallery, New York]; to Harvard Art Museums, 2010.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John Cowles, by exchange, in honor of Steven E. Hyman, Harvard University Provost 2001-2011
Copyright
© Robert Gober
Accession Year
2010
Object Number
2010.544
Division
Modern and Contemporary Art
Contact
am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu
Publication History

Cate McQuaid, Contemporary art in the foreground at Harvard Art Museums, The Boston Globe (Boston, MA, November 1, 2014)

Exhibition History

Re-View: European and American Art Since 1900, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/03/2011 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 1120 Contemporary Art: Body/Politic, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/01/2014

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at am_moderncontemporary@harvard.edu