GILBERT & GEORGE. Their faces were painted bronze. I do not imagine that it did much for the skin. I first encountered Gilbert and Georges’ Living Sculpture at an exhibition in Ileana Sonnabend’s gallery at 420 West Broadway in New York’s Soho. This was in 1971. Ileana left a very large inheritance when she died. The Gagosian Gallery and others paid her estate about $600 million for just a part of her holdings. After the Living Sculpture, which was an early performance piece, Gilbert & George worked with photography adding color to photographs they took around their home in London and elsewhere. They represented England at the 2005 Venice Biennial and received the Golden Lion Award (the most sought after), and in 1986 they received the Turner Prize, one of the most important and highly visible prizes in Great Britain.
Anyway, Gilbert and George, who were born in 1942 and 1943, have made their art from the normal everyday routines of their lives. It has been a continuing drama that has now gone on for almost 50 years. They started showing in London where they have lived and they are now known around the world. They are a long way from their first exhibition at Frank’s Sandwich Bar in London in 1968, just a year after they met.
The library has just received a very large, and heavy, double volume of their Postcard Art from 1969 to 2011, over 1,000 pages. This is an extraordinary look at Gilbert and Georges’ lives trough their art. GW