Robert Gober

American (Wallingford, Connecticut, 1954)

Robert Gober is one of several artists who championed a return to figural art during the 1980s.

Although his sinks, cribs, baskets, and urinals appear to be appropriated everyday objects, they are in fact laboriously handmade. These faux-utilitarian sculptures often occur in series, their increasing distortions alluding to the absent bodies that no longer use them. In other works Gober employs fragments of the human body to suggest eroticism but also vulnerability and loss — major concerns for artists working at the height of the AIDS crisis.

Gober has often recombined his motifs, so that candles sprout from legs and drainpipes pierce through chairs. These works draw on a shared set of memories, but are far from seeming commonplace. Rather, the artist's alterations make them lyrical and uncanny.


From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

In the meantime, we invite you to explore a wide selection of our collection online. Please note that the information presented online is subject to revision. Please contact us at collections@sfmoma.org to verify artwork details.

This resource is for educational use and its contents may not be reproduced without permission. Please review our Terms of Use for more information.