American sculptor. He studied literature and then fine art at Middlebury College, VT (1972–6) and spent a year at the Tyler School of Art, Rome (1974–5). Gober settled in New York in 1976, earning a living building stretchers for artists, renovating lofts and crafting doll's houses. His first solo exhibition (1984) was at the Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, where he exhibited Slides of a Changing Painting (80 slides, 1982–3; artist's col.): for this he had mounted a camera directly above a small board, over which he painted images during one year, taking hundreds of slides documenting the life of the painting, which he later edited down. In its attention to the process of painting and transformation, Slides is considered important for his later works. In the 1980s and early 1990s Gober presented his own hand-crafted, everyday objects, imbuing them with a strong physical, visual and theatrical presence. His series include plumbing fixtures, including sinks and urinals (1984–6), door sculptures (1986–7), and cast body fragments and wallpapers, and combinations of all these (see 1993 exh. cat.). His emphasis on the personal, the fragility of humankind and the hand-made at a time when the predominant approach in New York was ‘appropriationist' has won him acclaim in the USA and Europe.
Robert Gober (exh. cat., essays by J. Simon and C. David; Paris, Jeu de Paume; Madrid, Cent. Reina Sofía; 1991–2)
Robert Gober (exh. cat., essay by L. Cooke, interview with the artist by R. Flood; London, Serpentine Gal.; Liverpool, Tate; 1993)