Gilbert & George
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Gilbert & George

As one in life and art for 50 years, Gilbert & George make work that is often huge, extremely brash and noisy – it literally screams for your attention. They tackle tough subjects such as death, religion, power, the monarchy, patriotism, identity and sexuality, often combining these into one dazzling composite image. Chuck in a few swear words (and possibly a bodily fluid or two) and you have the essence of Gilbert & George.

Nowadays an elderly gay couple in their Seventies, Gilbert & George can often be seen in formal suits strolling around Spitalfields, the area of East London that they have made their home. This is not to say the artist duo has settled down for a quiet life. Happy to be known as confrontational, Gilbert & George continue to make work that defies the norm, often delighting in the response to their controversial images and provocative slogans.

 

Critical to the understanding of Gilbert & George is the fact that these two individuals function as one artist. The two men began working together at art school ­in 1967- and have lived and worked together in a carefully restored house in East London ever since. Mostly identically dressed in formal tweed suits, Gilbert and George’s genteel, ordered appearance and ascetic lifestyle is curiously at odds with their riotous and often garish works of art.

Gilbert & George are iconoclasts, attacking the beliefs that art holds most dear. They believe that art and life should be brought closer together and their ‘living sculptures’ were one early way of bridging this gap. Living and working together as an artist duo was a further way of creating this necessary merger – art becomes life and life becomes art. Their democratic approach encompasses the idea that it doesn’t matter what your background is or where you come from, art is for all.

 

“We want our art to bring out the bigot from inside the liberal and conversely bring out the liberal from inside the bigot.”

 

As one in life and art for 50 years, Gilbert & George make work that is often huge, extremely brash and noisy – it literally screams for your attention. They tackle tough subjects such as death, religion, power, the monarchy, patriotism, identity and sexuality, often combining these into one dazzling composite image. Chuck in a few swear words (and possibly a bodily fluid or two) and you have the essence of Gilbert & George.

 

Resume

Gilbert & George received their BFAs at the Munich Academy of Art, Germany, and Oxford Art School, England, respectively and received their MFAs from Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. Recent solo exhibitions of their work have been organized at The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Netherlands; The Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest, Hungary (2017); Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, Australia (2016); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015); Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (2014); Diechtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany (2011); the Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Poland (2011)  the Kröller-Müller Museum, the Netherlands (2010); the de Young museum, San Francisco (2008), Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee (2008), the Brooklyn Museum, New York (2008); and Tate Modern, London (2007). Select group exhibitions featuring their work include The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2017, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2017); Take Me (I’m Yours), Jewish Museum, New York (2016); A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now, ICA London (2013); Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2012); ARTandPRESS, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2012); The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture 1839 to today, Kunsthaus Zurich (2011); BP British Art Displays 1500- 2009, Tate Britain, London (2009); and Passports: Great Early Buys from the British Council Collection, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2009).

Their work is in numerous international public and private collections, including Art Institute of Chicago; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; Istanbul Modern, Turkey; Magasin III, Stockholm, Sweden; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate Gallery, London.

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