The Brooklyn Museum is the final venue of an international tour of the first retrospective in more than 25 years of work by the internationally acclaimed artists Gilbert & George. On view through January 22, “Gilbert & George” features more than 60 works produced since 1970, among them more than a dozen that are being seen only in the Brooklyn presentation, including a site-specific works created especially for the museum’s fifth-floor rotunda.
The exhibition was organized by Tate Modern, London, with the support and collaboration of the artists, who consider this to be the definitive presentation of their work. It traces their stylistic and emotional evolution through their pictures and works in other media, ranging from large-scale drawing installations from the early 1970s to postcard pieces, to ephemera, dating back to the 1960s.
Gilbert and George met in 1967 while students at St Martin’s Art School in London. They began working as a team, developing a uniquely recognizable style both in their pictures and in their presentations of themselves as living sculptures. Working as a team for more than 40 years, they developed a new format that combined art and photography through a unique production process. Most of their work is produced in series and created especially for the space in which it is first exhibited.
The artists’ work, which is subversive, controversial and provocative, considers the entire cosmology of human experience and explores such themes as faith and religion, sexuality, race and identity, urban life, terrorism, superstition, AIDs-related loss, aging, and death. The works in the exhibition have been loaned from public and private collections in North American and Europe.
Gilbert was born in San Martino, Italy, in 1943. He studied at the Wolkenstein School of Art, the Hallenstein School of Art, and the Munich Academy of Art. George was born in Devon, England, in 1942, and studied at the Dartington Adult Education Centre and the Dartington Hall College of Art, as well as at the Oxford School of Art. Both attended St Martin’s School of Art in London. For the past several decades they have lived and worked in East London in a house on Fournier Street that they have said is, in many ways, a part of their art.
The Brooklyn Museum is at 200 Eastern Parkway. For information, 718-638-5000 or www.brooklynmuseum.org .