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A neutral colored box frame with a background that has painted cherries on it and a brick colored...
From Artist, Robert Gober
GOB RO 003 For IG
Robert Gober Untitled, 1978–2018 Copper, beeswax, forged iron, paper, soil, balsa wood, oil and acrylic paints, and hand-printed silkscreen on paper 24 × 24 × 5 7⁄8 inches (61 × 61 × 15 cm) © Robert Gober, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery
Robert Gober Portrait SuzanneShaker
Robert Gober. Photo: Suzanne Shaker

Introducing Artist Chats, where we chat with artists from the Hill Collection.

Hill Art Foundation: The Hill Art Foundation champions artistic dialogue across mediums, styles, and time periods. Who is an artist—especially one you might not be immediately associated with—who inspires your work?  

Robert Gober: Whenever I give a talk about my work, I am invariably asked who my influences are. Not what my influences are, but who. As if the gutter, misunderstandings, memories, sex, dreams, and books matter less than forebears do. After all, in terms of influences, it is as much the guy who mugged me on Tenth Street, or my beloved dog who passed away much too early, as it was Giotto or Diane Arbus.

HAF: A Dark Hymn explores the process of collecting. Do you collect? What kind of work are you drawn to?

RG: I collect all manner of things from unknown oil paintings to early Matisse and not just art but things – vintage deep sea diving boots, clown shoes, Swedish carpets, political posters and memorabilia, baptismal fonts, rocks, vases, the list goes on.

HAF: The Hill Art Foundation’s Teen Curators and Educators wrote the wall label text to accompany works in A Dark Hymn. Can you tell us about a learning experience from your childhood or teenage years that has informed your creative practice? 

RG: Whenever I speak to a group of young people who are in a museum to look and learn I always ask them one question. “Okay – suppose you come home one night and your parents aren’t home and maybe (or maybe not) you have some type of mind-expanding experience going on. Look around – what is the object or painting that you would most like to have on the wall of your home, all for yourself to stare at?”

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