As with so many of Robert Gober’s classic works of the 1990s, the artist approached Short Haired Cheese (1992 – 93) by researching the archetypal forms of his chosen subject, landing here on an unmistakable, yellow-tinged wedge of Swiss cheese, complete with air bubble holes.
The Cheese Stands Alone . . .
The hair that appears to grow out of the rind (clippings from one of his studio assistants) adds a haunting, anthropomorphic cast. Throughout this artist’s work, impeccably rendered objects associated with a nostalgic, mid-twentieth century domesticity — comestibles such as butter, gin or donuts, or home-maintenance products like house paint, light bulbs, or rat poison — are made strange, even unsettlingly queasy, through the artist’s distinctive interventions and allusions to a body in pieces.
Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Hippopotamus Poison (1965) belongs to a series of Technological Reliquaries, which Paul Thek (1933 – 1988), began in New York after a summer spent in Sicily. The work engages the Roman Catholic tradition of venerating saintly bodies that Thek had observed first-hand in the catacombs near Palermo, and simultaneously offers a critique of the art of the time, Pop and Minimalism in particular.
Within a visually seductive display case made from colored Plexiglas sits what appears to be slab of rotten meat, realistically rendered in wax.
Inscribed on the vitrine is a paranoid quote that nods to a generation’s underlying fears. “The world was falling apart, anyone could see it,” Thek has explained. “I was a wreck, the block was a wreck, the city was a wreck; and I’d go into a gallery and there would be a lot fancy people looking at a lot of stuff that didn’t say anything about anything to anyone.”