Robert Gober

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

If as Umberto Eco has suggested, the American imagination seeks truth and authenticity, but discovers it only through the inauthentic, then Robert Gober is a thoroughly American artist. His faux readymades engender an extreme form of hyperreality; although he trades on traditional American notions such as puritanism and pragmatism, his investment in these contents is always at the level of the “quasi genuine,” subsumed under an abiding inauthenticity.

This retrospective is populated by a range of semifamiliar objects. Some of them, such as Cat Litter, 1989, look useful. Others, like Bag of Donuts, 1989, seem edible. Still others, such as Two Doors, 1989, appear to be functional. Objects that initially seem ordinary undermine their senses of familiarity by the manner of installation. In Untitled Leg, 1989–90, a limb seems to emerge from the wall. Upholstered ottomans, dog baskets, doors,

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