Grand Delusion

The Museum of Modern Art features the work of Robert Gober.

Robert Gober moma

A craftsman of the diabolical and the domestic, the artist Robert Gober, 60, hand-makes the most prosaic of items: woven dog beds, piles of newspaper, enamel kitchen sinks, off-balance baby cribs. His tree-print wallpaper is so sunny, with bright blue skies, that it takes a moment to notice the lynched bodies hanging from the branches. After years as an artist’s artist and a cult star, he is getting his first major American retrospective, “Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor,” which opens at New York’s Museum of Modern Art on October 4 (through January 18, 2015). Curator Ann Temkin has brought together the past three decades of his unique, creepy, emotionally fraught output. (Think disembodied wax legs, complete with shoes, socks and hair, poking out of walls.) Scholars debate whether the gay artist’s work is about sexuality and the body (he rose to prominence during the ’80s AIDS crisis), the subconscious, or the state of America. But there’s no denying that everything he does is odd—oddly personal, often oddly beautiful—and impossible to forget.