IN THE CREATION of his Urinal,1984, Robert Gober referred more explicitly to Marcel Duchamp’s readymades (specifically Fountain, 1917) than any other artist now creating sculpture derived from the everyday object. He also departed radically from the originating impulses of this historical model. While John Armleder, Jeff Koons, Haim Steinbach, and others carry on the spirit of Duchamp’s intellectual wisecrack (while exploring issues of commodification, the doubtfulness of discernment, and the irrelevance of the art/kitsch dichotomy, all addressed through a compliant stance toward the marketplace), Gober bathes his urinals, sinks, beds, doors, dog baskets, armchairs, and other furnishings in murkier, more psychologically provocative waters, transforming his roster of everyday objects into an iconography of fundamental human experience. Urinal confronts one as sculpture, as esthetic form.
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