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Room with yellow wallpaper with graphic images, white dress under spotlight.
© 1989-96 Robert Gober.

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  • Room with yellow wallpaper with graphic images, white dress under spotlight.




Robert Gober
American, born 1954

About this artwork

Robert Gober’s insistently handmade, deceptively modest sculptures are re-creations of familiar things—body parts and everyday objects such as children’s furniture, sinks, and urinals. As imitations of the originals, Gober’s works have an uncanny effect, triggering disquieting thoughts about the most commonplace aspects of daily life. At the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York in 1989, Gober constructed two three-sided rooms defined by temporary sheetrock walls. The room seen here was outfitted with wallpaper depicting alternating images of a sleeping white man and a lynched black man hanging from a tree. At the literal center of the installation, the figure of a bride is strongly conjured by a wedding dress supported by a welded steel armature. The delicate dress stands rigid and empty, waiting to be filled. Gober himself has speculated that the relationship between the bride and the sleeping man in the wallpaper is that of husband and wife. Eight hand-painted plaster bags of cat litter line the walls of the room. A material that absorbs or hides waste, the litter serves as a symbolic remedy for the figurative mess of the bride, groom, and murdered black man. More to the point, however, it speaks to the lasting obligations and intimacy of committed love. On the whole, the room—and the veiled story of the imaginary couple it contains—can be considered a meditation on gender, race, romance, and terrible violence in contemporary American life.


Currently Off View


Contemporary Art


Robert Gober




United States (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1989–1996


Silk satin, muslin, linen, tulle, welded steel, hand-printed silkscreen on paper, cast hydrostone plaster, vinyl acrylic paint, ink, and graphite


Approximately 800 square feet, installed.

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Stefan T. Edlis and H. Gael Neeson Foundation; through prior gifts of Mr. and Mrs. Joel Starrels and Fowler McCormick

Reference Number



© 1989-96 Robert Gober.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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