Robert Gober (b. 1954)

Lot 72: Robert Gober (B. 1954)


November 15, 2006
New York, NY, US

More About this Item

Description: Untitled (butter churn)
signed, numbered and dated 'R. Gober Edition 3/4 1994-1996 (on the interior of the underside)
bronze with brown patina, shoe polish, plaster and paint
56 1/4 x 13 x 13 in. (150.5 x 33 x 33 cm.)
Executed in 1994-1996. This work is number three from an edition of four.
Artist or Maker: Robert Gober (B. 1954)
Exhibited: New York, Paula Cooper Gallery, Robert Gober, 1997 (another example exhibited).
Provenance: Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1998

Writing about Untitled (butter churn) for Robert Gober's installation at the United States Pavilion at the 2001 Venice Biennale, the curator James Rondeau explains that Untitled (butter churn), "while accurate in its period appearance, is actually a composite of several sources, equal parts fact and fiction." There is nothing simple, unitary, or clear about this piece. Indeed, Untitled (butter churn) is nothing less than an exploration of androgyny and a projection of the author and provocateur Judith Butler's theories of gender performance in American Culture. Rondeau argues that in Untitled (butter churn) and other works by the artist, "Issues pertaining to the body, gender, sexuality, mortality, and social injustice that have been central to his [Gober's] project, while all present, are not contained by personal or biographical experience; rather, they are abstracted into the larger landscape of cultural, political, and historical memory."

Untitled (butter churn) is a piece about the construction and articulation of gender, the manufacturing of butter and cream as a metaphor for sexual potency, and the subterranean social and sexual language in American history, as well as contemporary culture. It is also very much about the process of its own manufacturing. Like our aesthetic forefather, Marcel Duchamp, see simplicity, and one is really seeing a glorious minefield of ambiguity.

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Please note that the correct medium is bronze with brown patina and the correct title is Untitled
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