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The Inverted Sink

© Robert Gober

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Robert Gober

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Robert Gober

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Robert Gober

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Robert Gober

American, born 1954

The Inverted Sink, 1985

plaster, wood, steel, wire lath, and paint

overall: 66 1/4 x 102 1/4 x 24 inches (168.275 x 259.715 x 60.96 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, 2003 and by exchange, Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr. and the Stevenson Family, 2004

2003:24

More Details

Inscriptions

inscription / reverse, upper left / 'The Inverted Sink'
signature, dated / reverse, upper left / Robert Gober 1985

Provenance

the artist;
Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, 1985;
sold by Paula Cooper Gallery to Edward Downe [born 1929], New York and Southampton, New York, September 1985;
sold to Gagosian Gallery, New York, late 1988;
to Thomas Borgmann, Cologne, probably March 1989;
to Galerie Max Hetzler, Cologne;
to Rita and Toby [died 2005] Schreiber, San Francisco, 1993;
sold at auction, Christie's, New York, Post-War and Contemporary Art (Evening), sale no. 1150, lot 26, to Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco, and Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, November 13, 2002;
sold by Gladstone Gallery to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, September 4, 2003

Class

Sculpture (visual work)

Work Type

Construction (sculpture)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

In Robert Gober's enigmatic sculptural installations, fragmented body parts, household furniture, and clothing, among other disparate elements from domestic life, evoke notions of sexuality, politics, and religion. Gober initially captured critical attention in the early 1980s when he first exhibited a series of wall-mounted works whose handmade forms are modeled after vintage-style basins and finished to emulate the surface of porcelain—a motif that occupied him for nearly a decade.

The Inverted Sink—devoid of a drain or plumbing—has a strong Minimalist presence, which is seemingly at odds with the mundane household item on which it is based. Yet, such starkly elegant forms have come to embody aspects of gay identity and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Here, the sink simultaneously serves as a metaphor for cleansing and transformation as well as a surrogate for the human body, rendered ineffectual because of disease. By infusing the silhouette of an everyday object with beauty, mystery, psychological intensity, and a corporeal subtext, Gober succeeds in making the ordinary extraordinary.

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