Perhaps best known for his (creepy) wax sculptures of various body parts—each with individually applied (real human) hair—the American artist Robert Gober first achieved recognition in the mid 80s when he created more than 50 sink sculptures from plaster, wood, wire latch and paint. On October 4th, many of his works can be seen in the first US-based retrospective of Gober’s 40-year career at the Museum of Modern Art.

Gober places narrative at the center of his endeavor, embedding themes of sexuality, religion, and politics into work drawn from everyday life. Spare in its use of images and motifs while protean in its capacity to generate meaning, Gober’s work is an art of contradictions: intimate yet assertive, straightforward yet enigmatic. Taking imagery familiar to anyone—doors, sinks, legs—Gober dislocates, alters, and estranges what we think we know. Although a first glance might suggest otherwise, all of Gober’s objects are entirely handmade, by the artist and by collaborators with the necessary expertise.

The exhibition comprises of about 130 works across several mediums, including individual sculptures, immersive sculptural environments, and a distinctive selection of drawings and prints covering twelve galleries on MoMA’s second floor. But a thirteenth gallery dedicated to Gober’s curatorial work is included in the exhibition.

Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor is open from October 4th until January 18th, 2015.

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