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Drain

Robert Gober (American, b. 1954)

1989

Medium cast pewter Measurements H: 8 1/4 x W: 9 1/4 x D: 3diam: 4 1/4 in. (0 x 0 x 7.62 x 10.8 cm) Credit Robert S. Waters Charitable Trust Fund, Patrons Art Fund, Second Century Acquisition Fund, and Oxford Development Fund Accession Number 93.4 Location Gallery 16, Scaife Galleries

Narrative

Robert Gober’s small, easily overlooked Drain appears to be an object out of place. Nestled into a wall instead of the bottom of a sink, the work demonstrates Gober’s desire to get the viewer to look differently at everyday objects. The placement of the drain in a new context, removed it from its original function, renders it strange and highlights its visual qualities. Yet Gober further complicates this interplay of the artistic and the everyday, because what looks like a found object—a drain purchased from a plumbing store—is actually a handmade object, painstakingly crafted to look like a drain. By remaking a manufactured object by hand, and emphasizing the unique over the mass-produced, Gober transforms the most mundane parts of our environment in order to make us regard the world with a new-found sense of wonder. —From gallery label, by Douglas Fogle and Karin Campbell, 2009

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Title: Label, Scaife, 93.4; Gober, Robert; Drain, 1989
Robert Gober’s small, easily overlooked Drain appears to be an object out of place. Nestled into a wall instead of the bottom of a sink, the work demonstrates Gober’s desire for the viewer to see everyday objects differently. The placement of the drain in a new context, removed from its original function, renders it strange and highlights its visual qualities. Yet Gober further complicates this interplay of the artistic and the everyday, because what looks like a found object—a drain purchased from a plumbing store—is actually handmade, painstakingly crafted to look like a drain. Equally important to the work are all of our cultural associations with drains—the waste, fluid, and unwanted stuff that we flush down them, and their abject position in our domestic environments. Gober elevates this functional and largely ignored element of the domestic body, placing it in the honored position of a painting, and crafting a drain for the sealed architecture of the gallery.
Date: 2011
Purpose: label
Author: Campbell, Karin - CMOA