Robert Gober (American, b. 1954)
wax, wood, leather shoe, cotton fabric, human hair, Overall - h:29.60 w:16.00 d:51.20 cm (h:11 5/8 w:6 1/4 d:20 1/8 inches). Dorothea Wright Hamilton Fund 2003.226
At once repulsive and intriguing, Untitled creates the illusion of a man’s leg severed below the knee and protruding from the wall. The vulnerability of this amputated male limb, with an upturned cuff to reveal a bare patch of waxen skin, is also fetishistic. Untitled is disquieting because it is simultaneously familiar and strange. While Gober’s domestic visual language evokes reactions based on individual memory, his objects also speak to collective experiences. Gober is among the generation of artists that emerged during the 1980s to confront divisive political issues such as race, gender, sexuality, and religion. Viewed in the context of the AIDS crisis during the 1980s, Untitled is both an expression of personal outrage and universal loss.