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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2001 > June
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 13, 2001

Exhibition of U.S. Artist Robert Gober at 49th Venice Biennale

The U.S. Department of State is pleased to support the United States Pavilion at the 49th Venice Biennale. Italyís renowned international exposition of contemporary art opened to the public on Sunday, June 10, and continues through November 4, 2001. The official U.S. exhibition comprises new works by New York-based artist Robert Gober. The Departmentís Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs manages the exhibition, in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy in Rome, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice), and the Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions.

"We are proud of our continued commitment to demonstrating the excellence and diversity of American visual arts in this important setting," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Brian J. Sexton, who represented the U.S. government and officially opened the U.S. Pavilion. "The installation of Robert Gober is a wonderfully subtle yet provocative series of works that speak to the rights and responsibilities inherent in living in a free and democratic society."

Sculptor Robert Gober, born in 1954, is known for his discomfiting sculptures and installations that delve into the realities, contradictions, and mythologies of contemporary American life. He created for the 49th Venice Biennale an entirely new body of work specifically for the exhibition, composed of six independent sculptures, three prints, one photograph, and an artistís book. The exhibition is Goberís first major site-specific installation since 1997 and his first in Italy.

Co-curators Olga M. Viso of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, and James Rondeau of the Art Institute of Chicago are the United States Commissioners to the Biennale. The commissionersí statement reads, "Gober once again demonstrates that he is one of the great poets of the United Statesí national psyche. His Venice installation is a richly nuanced arrangement of sculpture and graphic work in which found items are reclaimed as material evidence of our collective unconscious. At the exhibitionís core is a sincere exploration of the persistent promises of democracy and the essential contradictions that attend the exercise of citizenship."

Official United States participation in the 49th Venice Biennale is made possible by major support from the Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions, a public-private partnership of the United States Department of State, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Rockefeller Foundation, administered by Arts International.

Based on the goals of the Fulbright-Hayes Act of 1961, the U.S. Department of State carries out a targeted program of cultural activities through its Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairsí Office of Citizen Exchanges, Cultural Programs Division. These activities promote mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and other countries, and highlight, for selected foreign audiences, the creativity, diversity, and dynamism of American society. Cultural programs also underscore the respect that the United States holds for the achievements of other national cultures. Most programs are the result of partnerships with U.S. private-sector organizations. Further information is available at http://exchanges.state.gov/education/citizens/culture.

Contact: Catherine Stearns, U.S. Department of State, phone (202) 203-5107 or e-mail cstearns@pd.state.gov

Released on June 13, 2001

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