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Robert Gober

Cigar

1991

Robert Gober’s works often resemble commonplace objects, though they are created by hand with modifications that add to their meaning. Made with carefully conserved tobacco leaf, Cigar is a loaded symbol of male gender. Favored prop of Sigmund Freud, the cigar evokes a wide range of cultural associations including the machismo of moguls and gangsters, the sly gestures of certain comedians, and the celebratory fervor of new fathers. The equivalency in scale between the object and the human body (the cigar is as long as the artist is tall) amplifies Gober’s reflection on masculinity and power.

Robert Gober (b. 1954, Wallingford, Connecticut; lives and works in New York)
Cigar, 1991
Wood, paint, paper, and tobacco
15 3/4 x 15 3/4 x 70 7/8 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchased with funds provided by the Collectors Committee in honor of Marcia Simon Wiseman

Most of my sculptures have been memories remade, recombined, and filtered through my current experiences…. It’s more a nursing of an image that haunts me and letting it sit and breed in my mind, and then, if it’s resonant, I’ll try to figure out formally, could this be an interesting sculpture to look at? —Robert Gober

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