Robert Gober makes hand-crafted sculptures that replicate everyday objects with an eerie precision and, usually, a detail or two that is just a little bit off. He is one of several artists exploring issues of sexual and cultural identity who emerged in the 1980s. His slightly distorted beds, cribs, sinks, and drains speak to difficult childhood memories and an unease with the domestic rituals and lingering puritanical attitudes of the suburban middle class. His surrealistic wax body parts, so extremely fetishized as to include actual human body hair, prompt contradictory sensations of terror, longing, and dissociation. Gober has extended his trompe l’oeil methods into printmaking by fashioning several editions of photolithographs that look just like newspaper pages. Newspaper, shown here, is from a group of thirty-two bundles tied with twine that resemble stacks ready for recycling. Each version was produced in an edition of either five or ten, and all were originally used in a 1993 installation at the Dia Center for the Arts. To make them, Gober inserted his own manipulated photographs into layouts based on various national newspapers. Here a photograph that initially appears to be a typical bridal advertisement is, in fact, an image of Gober himself wearing a wig and a wedding dress. The individual print also shows Gober as a bride and is juxtaposed with a story about the Vatican condoning discrimination against homosexuals. These works, which are related to the artist’s 1989 sculpture of a satin wedding dress, are concerned with marriage as an institution and rite of passage presently denied in the United States to Gober as a homosexual. These projects are among more than forty prints and multiples that Gober has produced since the late 1980s. They include other works incorporating photolithography, as well as hand-drawn lithographs, etchings, screenprints, and unlimited editions of screenprinted wallpaper, originally devised for installations.
Publication excerpt from an essay by Starr Figura, in Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 242.