Robert Gober (b. 1954, Wallingford, CT) is an important American artist who is best known for his large-scale installations and meticulous sculptures that are based on childhood memories and familiar domestic objects and take on Minimal and Conceptual art elements. He also has a strong photography, printmaking, and drawing practice that echo the choreography, formality, and spatiality of his objects. He examines recurring themes of religion, sexuality, and domesticity in his work.
Gober studied at Vermont’s Middlebury College and Tyler School of Art in Rome, receiving his BA in 1976. Shortly after he moved to New York, where he worked as a carpenter and assistant for Elizabeth Murray. His earliest works were rendered as paintings, but he quickly turned to conceptual sculpture in the early 1980s often in an abstracted form of non-functional, oversized household objects that have a sense of banality. Gober also references the body, either through its absence or dismemberment. This coupling of the familiar with the uncanny continues to be an essential part of Gober’s practice.
Gober’s first foray into printmaking and multiples occurred in the late 1980s. He has produced more than 40 prints and editions, in mediums including photolithography and hand-drawn lithographs, as well as etchings, screen prints, and wallpaper originally created for installations.
A major mid-career survey occurred at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2014. Other important solo shows of his work have been held at Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel; Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Serpentine Gallery, London; Tate Liverpool; and Reina Sofia, Madrid. He participated in the 2001 Venice Biennale, representing the United States.