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    Gilbert and George (b. 1967)
    Lavatory, 1996
    12 hand-tinted gelatin silver prints, in artist frames
    89 x 100 inches (226.1 x 254 cm) (overall)
    Signed, dated, and titled in lower right panel: 1996 / Gilbert + George / Lavatory


    Sonnabend Gallery, New York;
    Acquired by present owner from the above, 1997.

    Magasin Stockholm Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden, "Gilbert & George," September 4, 1997-January 25, 1998.

    "Art for all" is the credo of artist duo Gilbert Proesch and George Passmore, who pushed back on the primacy of cerebral modes of art such as Minimalism and Conceptualism when they met at St. Martins School of Art in 1967, where formal concerns reigned. Rather than these inward-looking art forms, Gilbert & George, a couple in life as in art, looked to the fundamentals of human experience, accessible to the broadest public. "We've always said that everything in life has to do with sex, money, race and religion," Gilbert has said, and their work has accordingly addressed such universal subjects. Their decades of collaboration led The Art Newspaper's Louise Buck to dub them "The art world's best-known and longest-running double act."
    New York Times critic Ken Johnson called one of their early works, Singing Sculpture, one of the most memorable works of the early 1970s. In it, clad in what would become their trademark, natty wood suits, and with painted skin, they stood atop a low plinth and sang a Depression-era song about poverty and homelessness. They have, similarly, incorporated themselves as figures in their own art ever since, and have often described themselves as living sculpture.
    Lavatory is a prime example of their photo-based works: a number of prints arranged in a grid to form a large, imposing whole, here some eight feet wide. It combines the sexual and the scatalogical, set in a site both for voiding bodily waste and for gay men to find anonymous sex. The couple has mostly removed their trademark wool suits in an arresting act of self-exposure. This work appeared at Stockholm's Magasin Konsthall in 1997, billed as their most extensive show to date with some forty-nine works; it appeared alongside works that deal with feces and urine, blood and sperm. Despite the persistence of the AIDS crisis, the artists have said that the disease was not foremost in their mind when creating these works.
    Lavatory comes from the collection of trust and estates attorney Robert J. Dodds III, who served on the board of arts organizations including the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Mellon University Art Gallery, and the Westmoreland Museum of Art.
    Gilbert & George have mounted exhibitions at the world's greatest institutions, from the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2015 to Tate Modern in 2007-08, an exhibition which toured internationally; they've appeared in major exhibitions such as the 51st Venice Biennale (2005) and are included in museum collections from Paris's Centre Georges Pompidou to the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

    Condition Report*: Each panel framed under acrylic.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2020
    19th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,897

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